Homes bid is rejected

IPSWICH: Developers say they are almost certain to appeal against a decision to reject plans for more than 1,000 homes to be built on the outskirts of the town.

IPSWICH: Developers say they are almost certain to appeal against a decision to reject plans for more than 1,000 homes to be built on the outskirts of the town.

Councillors unanimously threw out the proposal to build the homes on the green fields of the northern fringe south of Westerfield.

They argued that the application was premature because the borough's draft development framework has not been finalised.

But developers, Mersea Homes, argued that there is a shortage of suitable housing land in Ipswich and it was essential that the northern fringe should be developed as soon as possible.

Among the reasons given by the borough's planners for refusing to grant planning permission was that the application was an “isolated piecemeal development contrary to the need for a masterplan for the northern fringe.”

Councillors on the development control committee said the proposals ignored the need for additional public transport and traffic control measures, that there were doubts that Cliff Quay sewage works did not have the capacity to cope with the extra homes, and that there was no urgent need for the new homes because Ipswich had a five-year supply of housing land.

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Nearly 600 residents in north Ipswich and Westerfield lodged objections to the scheme, which included 1,085 homes, a neighbourhood centre including commercial and health care premises, a primary school, and two accesses from Westerfield Road.

On behalf of Mersea Homes, Arwel Owen argued that Ipswich's development framework was so far behind schedule that there was an urgent need now to plan for new homes.

He said: “Even if you give permission today, the first 100 properties could not be occupied before 2013, which is only two years ahead on your timescale for development of the northern fringe.”

Councillors who spoke against the plan included Judy Terry, who said the application was “very poorly thought out” and Carole Jones, who argued that granting permission now would prejudice future development of the entire northern fringe site.

n. Do you think the development should have been given the go-ahead? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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The future of the northern fringe is the most contentious section of the draft Ipswich development framework, which will guide planning in the borough until 2031. It is anticipated the government will order a public examination of the document next year.

The borough council says that eventually, up to 5,400 homes could be built on the entire northern fringe site, which is bounded by Whitton, the East Suffolk railway line, Tuddenham Road, and Valley Road.

If Mersea Homes do appeal, a separate inquiry will be held next year.

Earlier this month, Ipswich School withdrew its plans for 320 homes on its playing fields which form part of the northern fringe.