Homes threat to school playing field

IT is a favourite haunt of children and dog-walkers alike.But part of Ellenbrook Road Playing Field in Ipswich could be under threat because of new housing plans.

IT is a favourite haunt of children and dog-walkers alike.

But part of Ellenbrook Road Playing Field in Ipswich could be under threat because of new housing plans.

The playing field is not used by current owners Chantry High School, but is a popular playspace.

But Suffolk County Council has now applied for planning permission to develop part of the land for housing.

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It wants to build ten houses and use the rest of the land as recreation ground, to be managed by Ipswich Council.

But this has provoked outrage among some residents. Trudie Tricker, 44, who has two daughters aged nine and 11, is determined to make her opposition known.

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Having lived in the area for 22 years, Mrs Tricker, a caterer who lives in Knutsford Close, Ipswich, thinks this development will prove detrimental to the area.

She said: "A large number of children play in Ellenbrook Road Playing Field. They use it to play football or to walk their dogs. It is the only playing field where they can play.

"Also, there are not enough amenities to cope with the extra people if more houses are built.

"There are only two doctors' surgeries in the whole of the Chantry and Belstead areas. And there is only one primary and one secondary school in the immediate catchment area."

But the county believes the development will be beneficial for the area.

A spokesman said: "There will be no more than ten houses. The rest of it will be managed by Ipswich Borough Council as a playing field.

"It is quite a big area so there will still be a big chunk of area to be used as a playspace."

Chantry High School is keen to sell off the land to raise money for its new sports facilities. The school wants to build a new, all-weather sports pitch and a new sports annex that will double as a community suite.

Ipswich council, which must provide 400 new houses every year, is now considering the application – even though the proposal goes against its development plan.

Senior planner Robert Haslam said: "Ellenbrook Road playing field is not down as housing in the development plan – it is down as a protected playing field.

"But we do get things that are not always in line with the development plan. The proposals will now be considered by the planning committee."

The proposals are due to go before Ipswich planning committee in August.

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