Revealed – The Ipswich brownfield sites that could unlock 3,200 new homes
PUBLISHED: 07:30 03 April 2019
More than 3,200 homes could be developed across redundant sites in Ipswich, new data has revealed, prompting demands for more immediate action.
Data compiled by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has shown that Ipswich has 60 brownfield sites – land that has previously been developed – that could potentially be overhauled for 3,204 homes.
Among those are well-known landmarks such as the former County Hall, the derelict Burtons factory on the Waterfront, land in Grimwade Street which had previously been part of Peter’s Ice Cream factory and an area near Felaw Maltings.
The list has been published by CPRE in a bid to encourage developers to use redundant brownfield sites instead of developing unspoilt greenfield land.
Fiona Cairns, director of Suffolk Preservation Society (SPS) said: “SPS welcomes the re-use of brownfield land as a way of safeguarding the countryside.
“Furthermore, brownfield land is invariably more sustainably located, which is borne out by the Suffolk Brownfield Land Register which shows that Ipswich and Lowestoft have, by far, the largest amounts of previously developed land.
“The national planning policy framework is very clear in its advice on strategic policy formulation, decision making around the identification of land for homes and delivery of homes that brownfield land must be given great weight in the decision making process.
“In general we would always urge councils to do more to bring forward brownfield sites, but frequently they are expensive to remediate and therefore harder to bring forward.
“The SPS is not in a position to promote such sites other than through responding to the public consultation exercise relating to emerging local plans and site allocations.”
Some of the sites listed in the database, which was compiled in December 2018, have now had work start on them such as the former Took’s Bakery site, and the list includes properties owned by the council and those by private developers.
Terry Hunt, Ipswich Vision chairman, said revamping redundant sites could have a snowball effect.
“One of our key priorities is to enable more people to live in and around the town centre, bringing greater vitality at a time when retail is going through a transformation,” he said.
“As this document highlights, there are a number of brownfield sites which are currently vacant, and which could offer potential for new homes.
“One good current example is the section of Carr Street formerly occupied by the Co-op and Woolworths.
“That area has for decades been designated for major retail development, firstly Cloisters and then Mint Quarter.
“Against the current retail backdrop, there is now acceptance that a change of emphasis is needed in that part of town.
“So, we will see a new school, and new homes, as first steps towards creating what I personally hope will become a thriving neighbourhood.
“That is just one example of what can be done to re-energise our town centre.”
Ipswich Borough Council Labour reaction
Labour leader at Ipswich Borough Council, David Ellesmere, said: “These are sites that are allocated to housing but they may already be in use so it will be as the use changes that they could be considered for housing.
“Some of those are in the longer term rather than immediate.
“The majority are not owned by the council, they are in the hands of private ownership so our main role is as a facilitators, working with landowners and developers to get planning permission.
“Our main focus is on the sites that the borough council owns such as Tooks and we will plan to get development going at Ravenswood.
“A big focus is going to be working with the county council and Associated British Ports to bring forward development on the island site [at Ipswich Waterfront].
“There are also sites that have been left idle and it would be great to bring those forward.
“A lot are in the town centre and bring economic activity so the door of the borough council planning department is always open, and we are very keen to speak to developers.”
Ipswich Borough Council opposition reaction
Conservative group leader Ian Fisher said: “Developing Brownfield sites is essential, especially for constricted urban areas such as Ipswich.
“Every possibility should be explored before granting planning permission to areas such as the Ipswich Garden Suburb, where planning consent has been given for over 3,000 homes but with no improvement to the road infrastructure.
“Some of the areas in the report are areas that have remained derelict for years.
“Replacing derelict sites with housing developments can breathe new life into an area and it is especially important as in some of these areas the locals feel as though their neighbourhood is being forgotten about and left to ruin.
“Lots of the areas in the report have been classified as awaiting development for several years in Ipswich Borough Council’s local plan – it is not good enough to just put things on paper – action is needed now.”