Ipswich set to adopt new guidelines for future expansion of the town

The Henley Gate development plans were shown off at an exhibition last year - but there are strict

The Henley Gate development plans were shown off at an exhibition last year - but there are strict thresholds in the infrastructure plan.

New planning policies to govern the future expansion of Ipswich until 2031 are expected to be formally adopted next week.

The full meeting of the borough council is to be asked to back two crucial documents that will be used to help decide how the town should expand – and will be a yardstick by which planning applications are judged.

The Ipswich Local Plan lays down policies for all parts of the borough through to 2031.

It identifies areas of the town where business development should be encouraged and where new homes should be built.

It also outlines where new infrastructure will be needed within the town including roads, schools, and medical centres.

The council has been drawing up the local plan since 2011, and it has been through public examinations and was also studied by a planning inspector last year.

His recommendations have now been incorporated into the local plan and it is expected to be formally adopted by the council at its meeting on Wednesday night.

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Once adopted, the council will be able to regard the document as its planning rulebook – and can use it to help determine whether contentious planning applications should be granted.

The same meeting is also asked to adopt an infrastructure delivery plan for the development of the Ipswich Garden Suburb – the town’s controversial northern fringe project.

That will set down a series of thresholds to trigger major infrastructure projects as part of the development – for instance a new bridge over the East Suffolk rail line will have to be built before 300 homes are occupied on the Henley Gate area north of the rail line and the proposed country park at Westerfield will have to be developed before 500 homes are completed on the same area.

The infrastructure plan is already being used by the borough – it was central to the discussions that resulted in Crest Nicholson being given outline planning permission for the Henley Gate development earlier this month.

But once it is formally adopted by the council – and there is little doubt that the Labour administration at the borough will back the proposal – it will have much more force when used to judge planning applications in the area and is expected to be a major tool for the council over the next 15 years of development at the northern fringe.