March 12 2014 Latest news:
Local government correspondent
Monday, February 3, 2014
Developing the Ipswich Northern Fringe could bring the borough and county councils a £30million bonanza over a number of years, it has emerged.
They could get the windfall, in addition to increased council tax receipts, from the government’s new homes bonus.
The news comes as the borough starts its latest public consultation programme over the plans for the Northern Fringe development.
An exhibition showing the plans starts a journey around the town today, when it is on display at the Gainsborough Sports Centre between 3- 8pm.
Over the rest of February it will be visiting Westerfield church, Ipswich Sports Club in Henley Road, Ipswich Town Hall, and Colchester Road Baptist Church.
The exhibition will be staffed by planning officers who will be able to explain to visitors what is proposed.
The government’s new homes bonus currently pays local authorities the Band D council tax value of each property for the first six years after it is built.
In Ipswich this amounts to about £1,600 a year at present. Of this money, 80% (£1,280) goes to the borough and 20% (£320) to the county council.
With between 3,000 and 3,500 homes expected to be built in the area over a period of 10 years or even more, this could bring in more than £30m. However the money would be spread over at least 15 years.
Ipswich borough councillor with responsibility for planning, Carole Jones, said the money would depend on the Government retaining its new homes bonus – and there was no certainty in that.
She said it was important that as many people as possible gave their views on what kind of development should go ahead to the north of the town, in what has now been re-christened “Ipswich Garden Surburb”. This now includes three separate neighbourhoods – “Henley Gate” between Henley Road and the railway line, “Fonnereau Way” between the railway line and Westerfield Road, and “Red House” between Westerfield Road and Tuddenham Road.
The development remains deeply controversial, with residents of north Ipswich and the villages just outside the town fearful that it will result in the town absorbing smaller communities like Westerfield and Tuddenham. There are also worries that the new homes will add significant extra traffic on to already busy roads.
The design does aim at encouraging residents to use alternative methods of transport, including an enhanced cycle route to the town centre and increased use of Westerfield railway station on the edge of the development, but many expect that the majority of residents of the new development will want to use their cars on a daily basis.
Former Conservative council leader Brian Pinner, who lives on what would be the edge of the new development, wrote to the borough saying the whole scheme should be put on hold until the county’s highways department has resolved parking issues.