Ipswich: Authorities edging towards agreement on site of Ipswich Academy

IPSWICH: Officials from the county and borough are inching their way towards agreement over the sale of land for the new academy beside Gainsborough Sports Centre.

But it looks as if the land-swap that the borough had hoped to secure to allow the redevelopment of the current Ipswich Academy site will not happen.

The borough’s executive last night agreed to allow senior officers to negotiate a deal with the county for five acres of land it needs to buy near the sports centre.

The county has now upped its offer of �10,000 for the land to �50,000. That offer was still described as inadequate by the borough, but the executive agreed that it would go to binding arbitration if a deal could not soon be agreed.

Council leader David Ellesmere said a land-swap which would allow the redevelopment of the existing site largely based on affordable housing remained the best option.

However he accepted that might not be achievable.

A letter from the county’s director of children’s services Simon White said his authority still had to decide whether it would need the existing site. If it did not, approval would have to be given by the Education Secretary Michael Gove before it could be sold.

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In that case the county would share the borough’s desire for a quick redevelopment of the site.

Borough economic development spokeswoman Carole Jones said it was vital the site was not left derelict. She said: “We must do everything we can to ensure that site in the middle of a residential area is not just left empty for any length of time – it must be redeveloped.”

What should happen to the Ipswich Academy site? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk