Work to start on 150 new Ipswich council homes next year

Handford Road CGI

An architect's impression of the proposed ned homes fronting Handford Road. - Credit: Stanley Bragg Architects/Ipswich Borough Assets

Work to develop the former BT data centre at Bibb Way in Ipswich into 150 new council homes could start early next year and be completed by Christmas 2024 - if planners give their final approval to the scheme on Wednesday.

The office block at Bibb Way would be converted into 78 flats, 39 new homes built facing on to Handford Road and a further 33 homes built on the former BT car park at the side of the offices.

Bibb Way offices

Ipswich Borough Assets bought the Bibb Way office block in 2019. - Credit: David Vincent

There are two planning applications to be decided at Wednesday's meeting of the council's planning and development committee, one for the conversion of the offices and one for the new-build homes.

The councillors will have to decide on the details of the plans that are being presented by council-owned Ipswich Borough Assets which currently owns the land - but the principle of the development has also been approved.

If approval is given - and council planning officers are recommending it gets the go-ahead - the land will be bought by the borough itself and the development will be managed by its own Handford Homes development company.

The earliest work could start on the ground is the start of next year.

Bibb Way.

Bibb Way. The five-storey offices on the right will be converted into flats. The data centre to the left has been demolished and new houses and flats will be built on that site. - Credit: Ipswich Borough Assets

The work will be done in phases, starting with the conversion of the office building before moving on to the construction of the Handford Road homes before finishing with the homes on the car park.

Housing portfolio holder Neil MacDonald said: “If planning permission is granted for the scheme, this development will lead to 150 council homes being ready for residents to move in 2024. All would be built to a high standard.

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“There would also be several environmental improvements such as to the Alderman Canal with new access, the removal of some trees overhanging the canal to stop leaf-drop and a contribution to work being undertaken to improve its flow of water.

"Also 77 new trees would be planted on the site, far exceeding those that will need removing. There would also be contributions towards local services, such as schools and GP practices, by the developer.”

IBA chair Colin Kreidewolf added: "It's a really good scheme I think and will help transform this area of the town. It's quality homes for Ipswich people."