Could a new care home for Ipswich mark the end for Victoria Nurseries?

A CGI of the proposed care home for Westerfield Road/Kettlebaston Way. Picture: FIRST CARE HOMES

A CGI of the proposed care home for Westerfield Road/Kettlebaston Way. Picture: FIRST CARE HOMES - Credit: Archant

A new 76-room care home proposed on the site of Victoria Nurseries has placed a new question mark over the future of the popular Ipswich garden centre.

Ian May at Victoria Nurseries. Picture: ARCHANT

Ian May at Victoria Nurseries. Picture: ARCHANT

First Care Homes has drawn up proposals for the new home off Westerfield Road and is gauging public opinion before submitting a formal planning application to Ipswich Borough Council.

Victoria Nurseries has been operating from the site since 1986 but, over the last two decades, there have been several proposals to redevelop it which have not been followed through.

The garden centre has been operating on short-term leases and temporary planning permission for the last few years.

Proprietor Ian May is philosophical about the future, saying: “We haven’t been given notice to quit yet, but the current planning permission runs out at the end of the year and we might be pushing our luck if we try for another temporary permission from the council.

“So we might wind down then. I’m 74 now and we’ll wait to see what happens.”

Victoria Nurseries continued operating during the lockdown, because it also has a farm shop.

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It is continuing to operate at present, and Mr May will be expecting a busy time in the next three months because it supplies hundreds of Christmas trees to homes around the town over the festive season.

The proposed care home would have residential rooms on three floors, with the 29 on the first floor being designed specifically for residents who are living with dementia.

Some of the rooms would have balconies – and some of the rooms on the ground floor would have direct access to enclosed outdoor space.

First Care Homes already operates the Park View Care Home near Chantry Park in Ipswich, as well as homes in Cambridge and Hastings on the south coast.

Mr May said nearby residents he had talked to were not concerned about the principle of a care home on the site – but some were surprised about the proposed size.

He said there were some protected trees and a pond with wildlife value on the site as well. He thought the developers would have to take account of them in any plans put forward.

The consultation runs until Friday and people can see all the details by visiting its website.

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