max temp: 19°C

min temp: 13°C


Ipswich: Plans withdrawn for St Clements hospital homes

PUBLISHED: 09:25 24 January 2014 | UPDATED: 09:26 24 January 2014

St Clements Hospital site, Ipswich

St Clements Hospital site, Ipswich

Proposals to create more than 200 new homes on the site of the former St Clement’s Hospital have been withdrawn after the borough and a health authority disagreed about the number of “affordable” properties to be built there.

The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), which owns the site, had applied for permission to convert the Victorian hospital into 48 homes and to build a further 179 homes in its grounds.

Borough planners felt the design of the development was acceptable, but felt that 35% of the new-build homes should be “affordable” and offered to a housing association.

The NSFT, which runs mental health services in the two counties, felt this was too high a proportion – it had proposed that about 4.5% of homes should be affordable and said that a higher proportion would make the entire scheme uneconomic.

The application was discussed by councillors in December, but they put off making a decision to allow for more negotiations with the NSFT. However, the trust decided to withdraw the application.

Leigh Fleming, commercial director at the NSFT, said: “We have worked for some time with Ipswich Borough Council to resolve the future of the St Clement’s Hospital site.

“While the council had no overall objections, there were some finer details – specifically the agreements that deal with social housing – which we were unable to resolve at this time.

“We recognise that the local community desperately needs additional housing and we will be meeting with Ipswich Borough Council over the next few weeks to bring the matter to a speedy and mutually beneficial conclusion.”

The council’s opposition housing spokeswoman Judy Terry said the decision was a major blow for the town.

She said: “The trust employed external consultants and the borough employed different external consultants. Both said the scheme would not be viable if the borough insisted on 35% of affordable homes.

“But officers came up with a report that said the target was feasible – even though the trust made it clear that would cause it to lose money on the deal, and as a government body it has to secure the best possible deal.

“Now there’s going to be yet more empty land in Ipswich that will left empty because the borough insists on this high threshold – what about building homes that people can afford to buy?”

Ipswich Conservative MP Ben Gummer warned that the borough was becoming a “no-go” area for developers.

He said: “It’s only interested in the Northern Fringe. There is a desperate need for new houses, especially starter homes for people to buy, and the borough’s policy is strangling that.”

Borough leader David Ellesmere said it was important to ensure as many affordable properties as possible were built in the town – his authority is currently planning to build about 300 council houses over the next three years.

He said: “We have spoken to independent experts and they say the figure for affordable homes on that site is achievable and we will be speaking again to the trust about this.”

The borough had made a bid for the land last year to develop a mixed private/council housing development, and would be interested in reviving that proposal if the NSFT wanted to sell the site.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

A primary school in Ipswich has failed to improve its Ofsted rating despite converting to an academy, it has been revealed.

Dementia-friendly care homes, forward-thinking mental health services and a café for people with disabilities are among those through to the final of the 2017 Suffolk Care Awards.

Imagine a music festival featuring Queen, Oasis, and The Jam in the heart of Ipswich’s Christchurch Park.

Pupils at Farlingaye High School in Woodbridge saw in the holidays with a ‘festival-like’ acoustic evening.

Screen Suffolk bosses have said they are encouraged by the amount of interest shown in youngsters for a career in TV and film.

The man arrested by police over a suspected murder in Bury St Edmunds on Thursday has been charged this evening.

Claydon High School has been recognised for its sporting prowess by achieving the School Games Mark silver award.

Two junctions on the A12 near Kelvedon in Essex will be closed for three nights this week as bridge repair works continue.

One of the biggest dates in Felixstowe’s summer calendar of events got off to a sun drenched start on the seaside this afternoon.

A baby born with a rare disease that causes such severe muscle weakness that even breathing, eating and swallowing become difficult for her has received support from a Suffolk charity.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24