Bid to build 1,000 homes is rejected – but saga goes on

IPSWICH: Plans to build over 1,000 homes on land to the north of Ipswich have been rejected by the government – but it may not be the end of the saga.

The Secretary of State yesterday rejected a planning application by Mersea Homes to build 1,085 homes, a new small shopping centre and a new primary school on the site between Westerfield and Henley Roads, bordering on to the railway line.

The land is part of an area known as the northern fringe, previously earmarked for 5,600 homes, shops, a school, and medical centre by 2031. Despite the rejection, it is still likely the site will be developed at some point in the future.

Planning chiefs at Ipswich Borough Council initially rejected the Mersea Homes application and wanted to wait until 2016 to draw up a masterplan for the entire northern fringe.

Richard Atkins, planning and economic development portfolio holder for the council, said: “We welcome this decision as it successfully defends our refusal to grant permission for the homes and upholds our objections to piecemeal development of the Northern Fringe.

“We want to see a development that is consistent for the whole area. I think that different developers who own the site each have their own idea about what they want to do with it.”

Mr Atkins also questioned if there would be sufficient demand for homes. He said: “There are a lot of flats standing empty in the town right now. This could be caused by the current economic climate, but it is an issue.”

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While it is likely that the site will be developed after 2016 concerns remain about the area’s suitability for a large scale housing development.

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Daniel Poulter said: “I am delighted that common sense has prevailed. It was very clear that this was the wrong place for development.

“Development needs to be on brownfield sites in Ipswich to re-invigorate areas such as Whitton and Whitehouse and not on greenfield sites where there was no infrastructure.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer added: “We need new family homes in Ipswich, but they must go where it is appropriate. We cannot make the mistake of building homes where there are no doctors, school and other services.” Mersea Homes declined to comment.

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