Inquiry starts into Northern Fringe 1,000-home estate

IPSWICH: Controversial proposals for a 1,000-home estate off Westerfield Road would jump the gun and damage hopes for a comprehensive redevelopment of the town’s northern fringe.

That was the claim as Mersea Homes’ appeal against the borough’s refusal to allow it to build a new estate on the north of the town began.

The company wants to build 1,085 homes, a new small shopping centre and a new primary school on the site between Westerfield and Henley Roads, bordering on to the Railway line.

Its application was turned down last year by borough planners who want to wait until 2016 to draw up a masterplan for the entire northern fringe of Ipswich, which will include other land of Henley Road to the north of the railway line and land on the other side of Westerfield Road.

The proposals have prompted furious oppoisition from local residents.

Simon Bird QC, representing the borough, told the public inquiry that Mersea Homes’ proposals did not look enough at the wider proposals.

He said: “The design process for the appeal scheme has not involved any meaningful consideration of the requirements of a comprehensive development of the Northern Fringe.

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“The design approach has been a self-centred one.”

Mr Bird said Mersea Homes accepted that the site was crucial to the total development of the area.

Robin Purchase QC, for Mersea Homes, said there would not be enough land in Ipswich to be developed in the years up to 2015: “There would be no prejudice in the fact that development commenced earlier to meet the identified shortfall.”

And he added: “The proposed development would be sustainable and inclusive with its surrounding area and secures high standards of urban layout and design.”

The inquiry is expected to last at least 10 days and there will be a chance for local residents to have their say towards the end of the hearing.

The result of the public inquiry is expected to be published towards the end of the year or possibly in early 2011.

Should new homes be built on the Northern Fringe of Ipswich? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk