150 new council homes get go-ahead in Ipswich
- Credit: STANLEY BRAGG ARCHITECTS
Plans to turn the vacant former BT offices in Ipswich into 150 new council homes have been given unanimous approval – with work set to start on site next year.
BT vacated its former offices and data centre in Bibb Way in 2014, with the site having lain empty since then.
Ipswich Borough Assets – the arms length company owned by Ipswich Borough Council – acquired the site, and its planning application to establish 150 homes there was approved unanimously on Wednesday morning.
That will feature 78 flats in the former office building, while the data centre has been demolished and land around the front of the site with Handford Road will feature a row of terraced houses.
Three blocks of flats will also be created totalling 41 flats. The site will have 31 houses in total.
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All will be council properties at affordable rent – an area acknowledged as having a significant gap in provision as a result of fewer affordable homes coming forward over the last five years than anticipated.
Colin Kreidewolf, chairman of applicant Ipswich Borough Assets, said: “It’s a fantastic development, and it will significantly improve the environment in the area as well as bringing 150 quality homes to Ipswich families.
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“We are really pleased with the decision of the planning committee to approve the application because its a really good quality development close to the town centre, fits in with the connected Ipswich concept, and within two years we should have new homes for Ipswich people.”
The data centre has already been demolished, but formal construction work is expected to begin next year. That will happen in three phases – the first to convert the office building, followed by the terraced houses along Handford Road and finally the development in the car park areas at the back.
The houses will include 23 two-bed homes and eight three bed, while the flats will largely be one and two bed properties.
Work is to begin next year and last homes ready for occupation in 2024.
Ipswich Borough Assets has confirmed the access for cars will be from Bibb Way, and only emergency vehicle and pedestrian access from Handford Road to ensure there was not a significant number of traffic movements added to that already-busy road.
Around £1.1million in infrastructure contributions is also to be provided, while 77 trees are to be planted.
Planning committee member Carole Jones said: “This is a really welcome application for a site that has been empty and underused for a number of years,” citing “thousands of people in need of well-designed, sustainable homes."