Battle continues as houses get go-ahead

AFTER weeks of wrangling, it seems that houses could soon be built on Ellenbrook Road playing field in Ipswich.Much to the dismay of several residents, Ipswich Borough Council's planning committee ruled in favour of building on part of the popular Ipswich playing field.

AFTER weeks of wrangling, it seems that houses could soon be built on Ellenbrook Road playing field in Ipswich.

Much to the dismay of several residents, Ipswich Borough Council's planning committee ruled in favour of building on part of the popular Ipswich playing field.

The decision has been referred to GO East (Government Office for the East of England) to see if it wishes to call in the matter.

A borough council spokesman said: "The planning committee has decided that the proposals are acceptable in principle.


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"If GO East decide not to call it in, then the planning permission will be issued."

The row over Ellenbrook kicked off in early July when Suffolk County Council decided to sell part of the land for housing and transfer the rest as playing field to the borough council.

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Chantry High School, who owns the land, wanted to sell the land to raise funds for a new all-weather pitch and community classroom on the school site.

The school needed the money so as to be able to secure a matching grant from the New Opportunities Fund.

The school was also fed up of paying for the land's upkeep – not least clearing up dog mess – even though it is about a mile from the school and has not used by pupils for about 20 years.

Steve Wooldridge, deputy head at Chantry High School, said: "I'm pleased by the decision of the planning committee.

"This should mean that we can now develop facilities at the school, and that the local community will have proper access to open space playing fields in the future."

Sport England (East) has now decided not to object to the building proposals – because this would enable sports facilities to be built at Chantry.

But they have recommended that the remaining land be a formal playing pitch with new access and new changing facilities.

Speaking at the meeting Ipswich planner Ron Vincent said: "The area to be built on is only about eight per cent of the playing field. "There were only ever two playing pitches – and two full size pitches could still be achieved even if that area was hived off.

"The remainder will be transferred to Ipswich Borough Council with a covenant that it should remain as playing field.

"This is clearly a win-win situation. Chantry High School will have the benefit of new facilities and the rest of Ellenbrook Playing Field will be formally open to the community at large."

But Conservative Association spokesman Bob Hall, who organised an almost-500 strong petition against the building proposals, is disappointed.

He said: "Obviously I am disappointed that the planning application was not quashed today.

"But I am pleased that the decision has been put into the hands of GO East."

GO East will make its decision in about 28 days.

What do you think? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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