Blueprint sets out plans for 13,500 new homes for Ipswich

The former Civic Centre site - the preferred home for a new retail development.

The former Civic Centre site - the preferred home for a new retail development.

The planning blueprint that will guide the development of Ipswich into the 2030s has passed another hurdle.

Members of the borough have voted to go ahead with the next phase of the consultation into the Core Strategy for the development of Ipswich – starting on December 12 and running until March next year.

The strategy seeks to guide the growth of Ipswich between now and 2031.

During that time it expects the number of homes in the borough to increase by 13,500 – although currently building projects are lagging way behind what is needed to achieve this target.

A figure of 14,000 new homes was set in 2011, but so far only 546 new homes have been completed in the town during the last three years.

The plan includes the proposals for the controversial development of the northern fringe – or Ipswich Garden Suburb – and anticipates the development of the town centre and waterfront area.

A significant change over previous local plans is that it foresees any new retail-led development in the town centre being concentrated on the “Westgate Centre” – the former Civic Centre site – while the “Mint Quarter” between Tacket Street and Carr Street should see residential-based development.

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Executive member for planning Carole Jones said it was vital that the core strategy document continued through the process because it laid down a blueprint for the future development of the town.

She said: “We are giving people the chance to comment on this and in fact they have twice the statutory minimum time to make their views known between December and March.”

The opposition Conservative group accepted that the consultation period should go ahead, but were not happy about the borough using the current draft of the core strategy in the meantime before it is fully adopted.

Group leader Nadia Cenci said: “Although we accept this must continue to go forward, we will be making our own submissions during the consultation period.”

LibDem group leader Andrew Cann said his members could not support the next move because they had serious concerns about the sustainability of the transport developments proposed in the town.

The move to the next stage was overwhelmingly approved by the Labour-run authority.

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