Families at Ribbans Park feel 'let down' over lack of leisure facilities

Ribbans Park

Ribbans Park was developed in the grounds of St Clement's Hospital by Bovis Homes. - Credit: Bovis Homes

New residents at the St Clement's housing development have been left frustrated as questions about the promised sports and recreation facilities pile up. 

The scheme that has seen the former psychiatric hospital in Ipswich transformed into Ribbans Park and Belgrove Place housing was officially completed last week

But residents claim they have been let down by developers, as planned facilities have yet to materialise. 

Melanie Barker said: "It feels like there's a lot of things going wrong that need sorting out here. 

"Most of us were told when we came to pick a plot that we would have a community and sports centre. We had to sign contracts submitting someone in the household to the residents' committee - and I know that was a massive pull for some of the families who bought here."

The community centre behind a fence

The community centre is fenced off to residents of the development - Credit: Melanie Barker

The original planning document, submitted to Ipswich Borough Council (IBC) in August 2014, stated Bovis' intention to provide "increased sport and recreational opportunities", first by retaining the existing bowls green with a "new and upgraded clubhouse and parking facilities". 

It also noted plans for "the creation of a designated sports area in the south west part of the site, including the relocation of the existing football pitch, retention and part refurbishment of the existing sports club building with extended parking facilities, and the provision of a new floodlit multi use games area". 

Ms Barker added: "The developers have done some of what they promised, like the new clubhouse for the bowls green, but it appears they've done the things that would otherwise have stopped them building and left the rest. 

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"I understand the finish date for the development was delayed due to the pandemic, but the Foxhall community centre is all boarded up and unused. 

"Now they want to sell it on - and we've had no update about what's going on or what the future of the community centre might be." 

In January, an application was put into IBC to alter the plans. It revealed that the land set aside for this purpose "is being sold and the facilities will be provided by the purchaser...within twelve months of occupation of the final new build housing unit". 

But Ms Barker said the community centre was not the only issue concerning residents and added: "The other major issue is the lack of street lighting at the Ribbans Park entrance. It's completely dark and has been for two winters in a row. There's no safe path, there's antisocial behaviour and I know no date for when it might be fixed. 

"We pay a yearly fee to live here, but then we complain about things and get overlooked; nothing is done.

"As residents we're all close and honestly we'd just like to be able to take on the site ourselves. It's lovely and we all want to live here, but we want it the way it was meant to be."

A statement from Ipswich Borough Council said: "Officers are working with the developer to ensure that the development is completed in accordance with the approval, including provision of sports facilities and open space."

Bovis Homes were contacted for comment bur failed to respond.