PROPOSALS to develop the northern fringe of Ipswich with thousands of new homes, schools and community facilities are to be open for public consultation after Christmas.

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Ipswich council’s executive committee last night agreed to formally publish the three options for the development of 480 acres of land and invite the public to express its views.

The land, between Tuddenham Road and Henley Road to the north of Valley Road, is expected to be developed over the next 20 years.

As well as 3,500 homes there would be a new country park to separate the town from the village of Westerfield, three primary schools, a new high school, a “district centre” with shops and other facilities and two local centres with shops serving local residents.

Residents will be able to give their views on the options during January – the details will be published on the Northern Fringe section of the borough’s website.

They can already be seen on the agenda of last night’s executive meeting which is published on the council’s website.

Borough planning spokeswoman Carole Jones said the publication of the options was a very important step for the future of the town.

She said: “There has been a great deal of effort put into ensuring we get a high quality development that people are going to want to live in.

“The target is that we see 700 homes built in the town a year and since the recession that has plummeted – but in future years the majority of those homes are likely to be on the northern fringe.”

She said it was vital to have firm plan to prevent piecemeal development – its importance had been shown when the council was able to reject a planning application by Mersea Homes for just part of the area without a regard for the rest of the potential site.

Council leader David Ellesmere added: “These options are a tribute to the council members, officers, and members of the public who have helped draw them up.

“I hope people now take advantage of the consultation period to have their say on what is proposed.”

Once the consultation period is over at the end of January, there will be further consultations before the final option is chosen in May – and a final masterplan is drawn up at the end of next year.

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