Eyesore site to get new lease of life as 173 family homes agreed

The River Orwell and the development side beside it

Plutus Estates hopes to get planning permission to develop this vacant land beside the River Orwell. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

An Ipswich eyesore site is to be transformed into riverside family homes after the green light was given for the 173-property development.

Ipswich Borough Council unanimously agreed an outline planning application at its meeting on Wednesday from Plutus (Ipswich) Ltd for 173 homes off Grafton Way and Commercial Road.

The land, situated between the River Orwell and Cardinal Park, has mostly been used as a temporary car park and is currently home to the Junkyard Market, and had been home to B&Q before it closed more than a decade ago.

Plans for a Tesco superstore and a hotel there were mooted in previous years, before Plutus began developing its vision for the site in 2016.

Those plans will feature 69 two-bed homes, 79 three-bed properties and 25 four-bed houses with no flats, as well as public open space, two retail or restaurant units and £500,000 contributions to highways, schools and library improvements. A planned 6% of the homes are being designated affordable.

Katie Inglis, planning agent with Iceni Projects on behalf of the developers, said: "The site is an underutilised brownfield site at the gateway to the town centre of Ipswich, which is a glaring gap in the townscape and sadly in need of regeneration and renewal.

A new housing development has put in plans, for the land behind Halfords in Ipswich, Grafton Way Pi

Land off Commercial Road and Grafton Way in Ipswich to be developed for 173 homes - Credit: Charlotte Bond

"Redevelopment would undoubtedly unlock this part of the riverside, improve the townscape and improve connectivity across the area."

She said: "This proposal provides an alternative form of housing for the town centre, family housing," and was "offering genuine housing choice in a central and sustainable location".

Another key benefit cited are plans to bring back into use the riverside pathway.

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The proposals were unanimously approved by the planning committee, but a number of issues were raised which they called for solutions on before the final application comes forward at a later date with the detailed designs.

Among the concerns were proposals for a 'car club' - a car-sharing scheme which has been used at other housing schemes in the past but often not desirable for homeowners, communal garden areas which could become hotspots for anti-social behaviour, and the costs of mantaining the land for residents.

Cllr Carole Jones, Planning portfolio-holder, wants Ipswich be a healthy town, a green town and a wi

Ipswich borough councillor Carole Jones - Credit: Su Anderson

Councillor Carole Jones questioned whether larger front gardens for people with reduced communal gardens would help design out the chance for anti-social behaviour, but added: "I am encouraged by the indicative designs which look attractive".

Councillor Sandra Gage said: "These are family homes and we need to bear in mind that means young children and teenagers using these communal spaces as their spaces."

A condition was attached to the scheme which will prevent homes converting garages into use for the homes, as they are needed for car parking.

Colin Kreidewolf from IPswich Borough Assets. Picture: DAVID GARRAD

Ipswich borough councillor Colin Kreidewolf welcomed development of the brownfield site - Credit: Archant

Councillor Colin Kreidewolf said: "Development on a brownfield site is clearly desirable, and the applicant is trying to produce a quality development."

Suffolk Constabulary objected over the linear layout and the potential for the communal gardens to attract anti-social behaviour.

The approval means the principal of homes is accepted, and developers will now go and work on detailed plans to be presented to the committee for approval before work can begin.

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