How will the Ipswich Garden Suburb take shape over the next few years?

Henley Gate

The first neighbourhood of the Ipswich Garden Suburb to see new homes built is Henley Gate off Henley Road. - Credit: Paul Geater

After more than three decades of talking, work is finally getting under way on the Ipswich Garden Suburb on the northern fringe of the town - but how will this new community be built and how long will it take?

The total size of the new development that stretches from Henley Road to the west to Tuddenham Road in the east will be between 3,000 and 3,500  homes - that is adding about 10,000 people to Ipswich.

Ipswich Garden Suburb map

The Ipswich Garden suburb has three separate neighbourhoods - Henley Gate above the railway line, Fonnereau between the rail line Henley Road and Valley Road, and Redhouse between Westerfield Road, Tuddenham Road and the Felixstowe rail line - Credit: Archant

It has three distinct neighbourhoods that will each bring a major feature to the suburb as a whole - and the construction work is expected to take until the 2030s.

Henley Gate:

The first new neighbourhood to be started is being built in a triangular shaped plot between Henley Road, the East Suffolk rail line, and the village of Westerfield.

This is being developed by Crest Nicholson and the first homes are now starting to take shape on Henley Road. Eventually it could have about 1,100 new homes and will also include a primary school and some community facilities.

Each of the neighbourhoods has an area set aside for something for the whole suburb. Henley Gate will feature a new country park that is being developed to provide a buffer between the new development and Westerfield village.

Ipswich Garden Suburb country park

The Ipswich Garden Suburb country park will be included in Crest Nicholson's Henley Gate development and provide a buffer to Westerfield village. - Credit: Crest Nicholson

Most Read

It will stretch across from Henley Road to near Westerfield level crossing - and include pedestrian and cycle routes to the railway station.

Fonnereau:

This will be the next new neighbourhood to be developed with work likely to start within the next few months.

Originally controlled by Mersea Homes, it is now to be developed by Bellway who worked with Ipswich Council to build the Ravenswood community in the early noughties.

It will also include a primary school and community facilities - and also have a significant shopping centre and employment buildings at the heart of it.

Fonnereau is expected to eventually have more than 800 homes by the time it is completed.

Redhouse:

The Redhouse neighbourhood is bordered by Westerfield Road, Tuddenham Road and the Felixstowe branch line. It will eventually have about 1,100 homes. 

As well as a new primary school and some other community facilities, the new secondary school that will be built to serve the whole garden suburb will eventually be built on land earmarked as part of this neighbourhood.

Mersea Homes, based in Essex, have lodged an outline planning application for this neighbourhood - but it is expected to be the last element of the Garden Suburb to be completed.

Although work on them is starting at different times, for most of the construction of the Ipswich Garden Suburb construction will be going on simultaneously in all three neighbourhoods with three different developers - it is not a case of finishing one part and moving on to the next.

The timescale of the development will depend on the economic state of the country and area - if demand for the new homes is high they could be built more quickly but if the housing market stalls there could be delays.

Work is expected to continue into the 2030s - but how far into that decade depends on the economy.

The construction of the community facilities, especially the schools, is also likely to be carefully timed. The new primary schools are likely to be built in different phases of the neighbourhoods' construction to avoid them all being completed in the same year.

For a year or two as construction continues youngsters from one neighbourhood may have to go to a primary school in another.

The new secondary school is unlikely to open until the Northern Fringe is about 70% complete because it would not have a large enough catchment area until then - until it reaches that point older pupils will have to travel to existing schools which may need to use temporary classrooms to cope with increased numbers for a few years.

Westerfield station

Westerfield station is expected to become busier with up to 3,500 homes built within walking- or cycling - distance of it. - Credit: Google maps

There may be other changes as the work continues - at present Westerfield railway station is served by one train an hour in each direction on the Felixstowe branch and a few services on the main East Suffolk line to Lowestoft.

With up to 3,500 new homes on its doorstep, whoever is operating the trains in a few years time may decide to stop all trains there giving a twice-hourly service during the day. That could ease pressure on the area's road network.