Parking spaces limit proposed for new homes in central Ipswich 'to help air quality'

New flats on the Ipswich Waterfront.

New flats on the Ipswich Waterfront. The borough council is considering air quality guidelines for new central Ipswich developments - Credit: Ipswich Borough Council

New-build homes in central Ipswich could have limits put on parking spaces, as part of efforts to improve air quality.

Ipswich Borough Council is to consider guidelines for new housing developments, with a maximum of a single car space for for two-bedroom homes, to help cut car fumes.

The new guidelines would cover the IP-One area (not the same as the IP1 postcode area), which includes the Waterfront and Portman Quarter (formerly Ipswich Village).

A low emissions supplementary planning document (SPD) is going before the borough's executive committee on October 5.

This is in addition to the existing Air Quality Action Plan, which recognises air pollution as a major public health risk, alongside cancer, heart disease and obesity.

Cllr Carole Jones, Planning portfolio-holder, wants Ipswich be a healthy town, a green town and a wi

Carole Jones, planning portfolio holder for Ipswich - Credit: Archant

A maximum of just one residential parking space would be permitted for a new one to two-bedroom flat or house in the area.

This would go up to a maximum of two residential parking spaces for homes with three, four or more bedrooms. The two-space limit would also apply to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). 

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The proposal says: "Urban areas have a greater level of public transport and more opportunities for walking and cycling, as services and facilities are in closer proximity to people’s homes. As a result, the demand for car ownership is lower."

Limits on visitor parking spaces are also included in the SPD, together with suggested levels of cycle parking.

The document would be used by the borough to consider air quality aspects of planning applications and assess what mitigations are needed.

This could include developers being asked to make it easier to cycle and walk, or requiring financial contributions to public transport.

Carole Jones, portfolio holder for planning, said: “We would use this to both make sure new residential developments reduce air pollution in their design and also contribute to lessen traffic pollution.

“However, we know that most town centre traffic actually comes from outside Ipswich and that neighbouring authorities have plans for hundreds of new homes on our border, so we need everyone to play their part in improving Ipswich’s air quality.

“Nonetheless, we are determined to make air quality better in our town and this new guidance would be a small but useful addition to our Air Quality Action Plan and the four Air Quality Management Areas that we have implemented.”

A public consultation has been carried out, which ended in January. The Northern Fringe Protection Group commented: "Unfortunately, this seems to reinforce our longstanding and repeated concerns that insufficient action to tackle the poor air quality in Ipswich is being undertaken by the council."

Suffolk County Council supported the steps to address air quality, but commented: "On-street parking demand surveys may be recommended to assess the risks of unmet demand for car parking and mitigation for this needs to be provided."

In the consultation, several individuals mentioned the need for more charging points for electric vehicles, including those without their own driveways.