Committee backs plan for 2,000 homes to be decided later this year

Area for the Northern Fringe Development on Henley Road. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Area for the Northern Fringe Development on Henley Road. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Community leaders have backed outline plans for nearly 2,000 homes on Ipswich’s northern fringe – with the final decision expected to be made later this year by a senior council officer.

Map of the Northern Fringe Development. Picture: ARCHANT

Map of the Northern Fringe Development. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Two outline applications were presented to yesterday’s Ipswich Borough Council planning committee.

One is for 815 properties by Mersea Homes to the south of the rail line near Westerfield Road, as well as a district centre, health centre and school; and one for 1,100 homes by Crest Nicholson, which includes vehicle bridge, pedestrian bridge, country park, primary school and facilities.

Both plans were recommended for approval to delegate the decision to the borough’s head of development from the planning team, who will make a decision once agreements over funding for facilities and infrastructure (section 106 agreements) have been completed.

It is expected to take around six months, according to the council’s report.

Representations were made by councillors in the area, as well as Brian Samuel from the Northern Fringe Protection Group and Barbara Robinson from the Save Our Country Spaces.

Among the concerns raised were the lack of opportunity for the air quality consultation, which finishes today, to be analysed and included, how many homes should be built before a vehicle bridge was erected, and whether enough consideration had been made to upgrading traffic junctions.

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One key concern was the proposal to build an underground waste water system which would require the lengthy closure of Valley Road.

Mrs Robinson said: “Residents are not against you – they are with you, but we want to see it sustainable.”

Combined S106 agreements towards provisions such as roads, policing and libraries are set to total £14.7m for the Crest Nicholson development, and £9.9m for the Mersea Homes project.

Debate had also been heard over whether a Northern Bypass should be agreed first before any homes.

Ipswich borough councillor Carole Jones said: “It would be irresponsible of us not to build the homes people need until, for example, you get a Northern Bypass – it simply isn’t feasible.”

The developments are part of plans for around 3,500 homes on the Ipswich Garden Suburb.