More than 250 new homes could be coming to Cardinal Park area of Ipswich
Ambitious proposals to build more than 250 homes along with a three-star hotel, restaurants on the site previously earmarked for Tesco in central Ipswich have been shown off in the town.
Plutus Estates outlined proposals for the huge development on a site that had originally been earmarked for a Tesco superstore before that proposal collapsed two years ago.
The new scheme proposes building 135 two and three-storey houses on the site beside the River Orwell.
There would be up to 120 flats in a tower block – currently planned to be 13 storeys high – at the Stoke Bridge end of the site.
The application includes a 65-bed three-star hotel with a restaurant and a separate restaurant in the ground floor of the tower block.
There is also an application for a gym attached to the hotel – but which would also be open to non-residents.
The scheme has been drawn up by architect Anna Ryten who said the houses would be aimed at the family market and would be clustered along green “fingers” of open space.
The application also includes an improved foot and cycle path along the river from the Princes Street bridge to Stoke Bridge.
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Ms Ryten said: “There is a real growth in the popularity of urban housing and given the location of this site we think it could be very popular.”
The homes will range from one-bedroomed flats to four-bedroomed houses and its proximity to the railway station and the main commercial area of Ipswich should make it attractive.
The houses will not have individual gardens – but there will be communal green spaces and individual terraces and roof gardens for their occupants.
Steve Crutchley from Plutus Estates said the company was hoping to submit a full planning application to Ipswich council during the summer and was hoping to be able to start work on the site in 2019.
Ms Ryten said the length of time taken to build out the site would depend on demand as it was being built.
No operator for the hotel has yet been identified but Mr Crutchley said it would probably be a mid-market three-star hotel company.
Plutus has been in talks with borough council planning officials since the middle of last year as it drew up the plans for the site.
This area was originally the lower rail yard for Ipswich station and later became the site of a B&Q store.
The site was then bought by Tesco’s property arm Spenhill which planned to build a superstore, homes, a hotel and other shops.
That plan was approved by the previous administration at the borough council in 2011 despite fierce opposition.
However after struggling to overcome planning concerns and with Tesco facing financial challenges the plan was abandoned and the site was put up for sale.
Tesco has nothing to do with the current development plans.
The progress of the planning application is likely to be closely followed in the town – and John Norman from the Ipswich Society visited the exhibition showing off the proposals.
He said: “We will certainly welcome the development of a brown field site. It is certainly preferable to building on greenfield land on the northern fringe.
“And we fought against the Tesco proposal – we would much rather see housing.
“However there are concerns about the aspect of the homes – they are not facing south on to the river and we will be looking carefully as this goes through the planning process.”
The borough has earmarked the area beside the river for residential-led development and leader David Ellesmere has welcomed the fact that a residential-led plan has been brought forward.
The creation of new footpaths and cycleways beside the river should enhance an area that is often seen as an eyesore for people arriving at the railway station.
The River Orwell at this point is very rich in wildlife, especially at low tide when waders gather near the town centre.
An attractive path beside the river could turn this into an attractive entrance to the town for those walking from the station to the town centre or the Waterfront area.
And the work could prompt a clean-up of the River Orwell which has been used as a dumping ground for old cycles and supermarket trollies over the years.