Ipswich: Borough council loses out on bid to buy former St Clement’s hospital site on Foxhall Road for homes

St Clements Hospital site, Ipswich

St Clements Hospital site, Ipswich - Credit: Archant

Ipswich council has missed out on a bid to buy the former St Clement’s hospital site on Foxhall Road.

The borough put in a bid to the mental health trust to purchase the site, which is now largely empty – but this was rejected with the health body deciding to go ahead and apply for planning permission itself.

It has now applied for planning permission to convert the Victorian hospital buildings into 48 homes and for a further 179 houses to be built in the grounds. The application should not affect the St Clements social club or the nearby golf club – and is expected to be discussed with the borough council’s planning and development committee before the end of the year.

Council leader David Ellesmere confirmed that the borough had put in a bid for the site.

“We would not have wanted to build all council houses there,” he said. “We would have been looking at a mixed development with a mixture of homes for sale and social housing. However the trust decided against our bid and has gone ahead with its own planning application. We shall be talking to them about how much social housing will be included in the proposals before they come before the committee.”

The borough has previously worked with a developer and housing associations on mixed-housing developments on schemes like Ravenswood.

On major housing developments like St Clements, the borough usually looks for at least 35% of the properties to be social homes – either built for housing associations to rent or for sale to first-time buyers as mixed-equity properties where the occupiers own part of the house and rent the rest.

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The bid by the council is also being seen as a statement of intent – that the borough is hoping to kick-start the housing market in Ipswich by ensuring work starts on projects.

It is planning to begin work on the 106-home development of council houses at Bader Close in east Ipswich early next year.