'Significant concerns' remain for 1,020-home stage of Ipswich Garden Suburb

“Significant concerns” remain outstanding over plans for the next 1,020-home phase of the Ipswich Garden Suburb development

“Significant concerns” remain outstanding over plans for the next 1,020-home phase of the Ipswich Garden Suburb development, Suffolk County Council says. - Credit: Suffolk County Council/Google Maps

A 1,020-home phase of the Ipswich Garden Suburb development should not be determined until "significant concerns" are addressed, according to a new report.

Suffolk County Council will agree its response to the Red House Park portion of the 3,500-home Ipswich Garden Suburb development submitted by Mersea Homes.

The report recommends Ipswich Borough Council colleagues not to determine the plans until “significant concerns” and “inadequate evidence” around transport and drainage are addressed.

In February, the developer submitted its planning application for the 1,020-home development, which includes land for primary and secondary schools and a local centre.

The 130-acre site, located south east of Westerfield station, is set to have two road access points onto Westerfield Road, a pedestrian and cycle connection to Tuddenham Road and a third vehicle access from Westerfield Road to the proposed school car park only.

Councillor Richard Smith, Conservative cabinet member for economic development, transport strategy and waste, said: “The Garden Suburb is an important scheme that will deliver much-needed new homes to Ipswich.

“We are working closely with Ipswich Borough Council on this and, as part of that process, Suffolk County Council has identified areas where it requires more clarity.

“The borough council is aware of those concerns and we will continue to work together to resolve them.”

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In its application, Mersea Homes said: “Red House Park will provide a high quality, sustainable garden suburb where people want to live and enjoy their spare time together,” and will “make a significant contribution to the growth and development of Ipswich providing much needed housing in a well-designed garden suburb environment”.

But the county council said that “further work is required to ensure that pedestrian and cycle movements are prioritised,” while below-ground crates for drainage water on the proposed school site are considered “unacceptable” because of the ongoing maintenance costs.

The council say the two main Westerfield Road entries are too wide and could promote high vehicle speeds on entry.

Further topographical information is also needed so school development costs can accurately be determined.

The council has been in pre-application discussions with Mersea Homes for the Red House Park portion since November 2019.

Inga Lockington, spokesperson for Ipswich from the opposition Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent group, said new housing was necessary for a growing town like Ipswich, but said: “These proposals are based on land vulnerable to surface water runoffs, and doesn’t provide tangible solutions in dealing with the increased road usage – as it will be the infrastructure and residents already here that will suffer the most.

“New neighbourhoods should be well-connected with town centres, green spaces, and public rights of way. The future of planning applications must reflect this.

“Cycle lanes, maintained footpaths, and reliable public transport provide a greener, less congested, carbon-reduced environment, in which the council should be focussing on providing net-gain biodiversity in any planning decisions made.

We encourage decision makers to work with local residents in finding solutions that solve problems, not just a quick fixes.”

Mersea Homes has been approached for comment.

Suffolk County Council’s cabinet will agree its response to the consultation on Tuesday afternoon.

Ipswich Borough Council as the planning authority will decide on the plans, which are likely to go before committee this summer.

Work on the first phase, the 1,100-home Henley Gate section along Henley Road, has already begun, while the 815-home Fonnereau portion west of Westerfield Road also has planning permission.