Ipswich: New fears over development of the town’s northern fringe

IPSWICH: Campaigners worried about the proposed development of the northern fringe in the town fear work on the project could start in just two years.

But one of the town’s MPs, who has been a vociferous campaigner against the development, thinks it will be at least ten years before anything happens there – if at all.

The future of the northern fringe is one of the key issues to be decided in the Ipswich Core Strategy – a planning blueprint for the town which will be used as a guideline until 2027.

An inspector has been looking at the strategy over the summer, and people have until September 14 to make comments.

There are proposals that up to 4,500 homes could be built on the northern fringe of the town – between Henley Road, across Westerfield Road and towards Tuddenham Road.

However, the council has said this should only be allowed once a masterplan has been drawn up with full details of new communities with schools, shops, businesses, and new transport links with the town.

Campaigners worried about the impact of the development fear that changes to legislation could mean that the first phase of development could be approved before the full masterplan had been agreed and that is expected to be completed by the end of next year.

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Rod Brooks, who is chairman of the Northern Fringe Protest Group, said: “I was surprised and disappointed that during the recent public hearing the inspector asked for changes to the Core Strategy to ensure that development of up to 1,500 homes can be made certain to start before 2015, leading to a total of up to 4,500 homes on the whole site.”

He feared changes to planning laws could make it easier for developers to get plans approved, even if local communities were opposed to them.

However, North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter said the government’s localism bill would give communities more say on developments, and said there were many other alternatives that should be developed before the northern fringe.

He said: “I still believe there is a need to use the brownfield sites nearer the town centre, and for smaller scale developments in other communities, before you start to look at developing the northern fringe.

“Given the current state of the economy... I would be surprised if anything happened there in the next ten years.”

Ipswich council’s economic development spokeswoman Carole Jones said the council was determined a blueprint for the whole site should be developed.

n Should homes be built on the northern fringe? Write to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or the address above.

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