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Ipswich council bids for government cash to help northern fringe bridges

PUBLISHED: 15:31 28 September 2017

The garden suburb plan includes a new country park.

The garden suburb plan includes a new country park.

Archant

Government cash could help finance two new bridges and the creation of a new country park as part of the Ipswich Garden Suburb on the northern fringe of the town.

The borough council is applying for support from the government for cash – which would ultimately help to secure a greater number of affordable homes to be built as part of the development.

It is seeking funding from the government’s Department of Communities’ and Local Government which has created a £2.3bn fund to support new infrastructure to enable up to 100,000 new homes to be built across the country.

The limit for individual applications is £10m – and the borough wants the government to make the grant because it hopes this will enable it to persuade developers to put more money into affordable housing on the 3,500-home development.

If successful the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund would help to fund a road bridge across the East Suffolk rail line, a pedestrian/footbridge across the line, and the creation of a new country park to act as a buffer between Ipswich and the village of Westerfield.

If the money does not come forward, the council would have to seek this cash from developers – who would then almost certainly reduce the amount of money they were prepared to invest in affordable housing in a bid to ensure they maintained their profit margins.

The borough’s executive is expected to formally agree to the application at its meeting next week – it has already been backed by the county council.

The report prepared for the executive says: “The country park and the two bridges across the railway line are crucial pieces of infrastructure for the development of the Ipswich Garden Suburb.

“Without the funding for their delivery there is a risk that no development commences on the site or that there would be significant reductions in the affordable housing on the site.”

The council is hoping that up to 35% of the homes across the Ipswich Garden Suburb will be affordable – be available to rent through housing associations or the council itself or be offered for sale as a part sale/part rent deal.

However that might not be possible if developers have to spend more on major infrastructure.

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