Inquiry into 450-homes plan under way

CONTROVERSIAL proposals to build hundreds of homes on the site of the former British Sugar plant on the outskirts of Ipswich were today under the spotlight at a public inquiry.

CONTROVERSIAL proposals to build hundreds of homes on the site of the former British Sugar plant on the outskirts of Ipswich were today under the spotlight at a public inquiry.

Developer JG Land wants to use the land for a new community, named Broadmeadow, with 1,100 homes, shops, a new school, recreation land, and an area for business.

The site is in Babergh district, and the council's latest planning guidance has identified the site for business use. Its planners have not approved the planning application which was submitted by JG Land last year.

The public inquiry, which is today being held at Babergh's offices in Hadleigh, is expected to last until at least the end of next week, but a final decision is not expected until later in the year.

The inquiry has started with experts from Babergh explaining why the council feels the site should be used for business development.

It believes that a large site with direct access on to the A14 and next to the main rail line between the Haven ports of Felixstowe, Harwich and Ipswich and the midlands and north of England could be a useful freight hub in the future.

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However JG Land has warned if its development is not given the go ahead there is no one else waiting in the wings and the site could be derelict for years.

Company planning director John Jowitt said that the site was as large as the total Babergh requirement for new business land over the next few years - and that earlier attempts to develop large business parks in the area had not attracted a great deal of interest.

The Eastway Business Park on the other side of Sproughton Road never attracted the scale of interest initially expected - and much of that land was reallocated for housing to become the Blakenham Park development.

If the application is given the go-ahead JG Land hopes to start work on the site next year. One of the first major changes there would be the demolition of the old sugar factory, which is dominated by the four huge silos.

The development of the whole site would take several years to complete, with the full Broadmeadow community not being completed until mid-way through the next decade.

Is Broadmeadow a good use for the former British Sugar site - or should it be a new business park? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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