6,000 home new town moves closer

THE possibility of a new town of nearly 6,000 homes being built on farmland on the northern fringe of Ipswich moved a stage closer last night.

Graham Dines

THE possibility of a new town of nearly 6,000 homes being built on farmland on the northern fringe of Ipswich moved a stage closer last night.

Despite impassioned pleas from five north-west Tory councillors, the borough council approved the controversial draft development framework aimed at guiding planning in the town for the next 15 years.

The borough is required to find land for 15,400 homes to be built by 2025. Of these, 6,000 have been built, 4,000 have received planning permission, leaving the council to find land for 5,400 mostly family.


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Labour members sat on their hands and declined to vote for the document, which sets out future requirements for shopping, transport, employment and leisure facilities as well as housing.

After a debate lasting 70 minutes, the framework was approved by 17 votes to 5 with 20 abstentions. The mayor David Goldsmith, who opposes the northern fringe housing, absented himself from the debate.

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A further period of public consultation will be undertaken before the framework is sent to the government, which will appoint an inspector to hold an inquiry into the plan. It is then up to ministers whether to ratify it.

Stephen Wells, a Conservative who lost his seat on the ruling executive because of his opposition to the northern fringe plans, called for a referendum in the town, urging members to be “brave enough” to ask what the people wanted.

“But of course, this will not happen because the establishment is too scared that the result may not be what it desires.

“Once development on the northern fringe is started, it will not cease until all the land has been built on from Henley Road all the way round to Ipswich Rugby Club.”

Another Tory opponent Mary Young urged delay until after the general election with the possibility that a Conservative government would rip up Labour's demands for 670,000 homes to be built in the East of England. The council should also wait for the outcome of the local government review, which could stretch Ipswich's boundaries.

Council leader Liz Harsant said the framework was one of the most important documents the council is required to produce. “It is a sensible and balanced package which will take our town forward. Many deem it regrettable but we have to work to the national and regional process.”

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