MP bids to save allotments

IPSWICH'S MP Chris Mole is calling for a rethink of proposals to build housing on allotments in Ipswich.As part of Ipswich Borough Council's Local Development Framework (LDF), a number of controversial sites have been earmarked for potential future development in the town over the next 13 years.

IPSWICH'S MP Chris Mole is calling for a rethink of proposals to build housing on allotments in Ipswich.

As part of Ipswich Borough Council's Local Development Framework (LDF), a number of controversial sites have been earmarked for potential future development in the town over the next 13 years.

Among these are allotments on London Road.

Mr Mole said, “The Tories and Liberals running Ipswich Borough Council have proposed to build new houses on one of the fields at the London Road allotments site.


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“I think this is short sighted as in a sustainable community; people should have access to plots where they can grow their own vegetables and other plants.

“Allotments offer good opportunities for healthy living and exercise for people of all ages.

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“While I am keen to see more homes built in Ipswich, the Local Development Framework needs to ensure that we develop sustainable communities within the town, and we should not just infill every available bit of land.

“I am all for making the most of opportunity sites, but allotments should be amongst the last sites considered.

“The London Road allotments may look under used, but I am persuaded this has been due to poor marketing, and the evidence is clear that more and more sites are now being taken up.”

The LDF, which is not a formal planning application, has been set up to meet the government's target of 15,400 houses within the Ipswich borough boundary, by 2021.

Richard Atkins, responsible for economic development at Ipswich Council, said other allotments in the town, off Hayhill Road and off Spring Road, had been given the green-light for development by the previous Labour administration.

He said: “If there are several fields in an allotment with a number of fields being used and a number not, then I think re-jigging them is something we should look at. This is not a commitment to building on them.”

Mr Atkins said the framework document, which includes hundreds of private gardens across the town, is more about identifying pieces of land that may come up for development in the years to come and considering whether it would be suitable.

He said: “We are not planning at all to build in someone's back garden or compulsory purchase.

“It is a question of trying to avoid a knee jerk reaction in the future rather than planning to confiscate people's back gardens.

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