New council homes on the way – and health shake-up could follow

New council homes are to be built in Old Norwich Road.

New council homes are to be built in Old Norwich Road. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Work on a new development of 60 council homes on the Old Norwich Road in Ipswich is set to start during the second half of the year.

Full planning permission for the development has been granted by the borough’s planning and development committee and now contractors to build the homes will have to be chosen.

And the borough is also involved in preliminary talks with NHS bosses about building a new “super surgery” next to the homes to provide GP accommodation and other health services for people across north west Ipswich.

Ipswich council’s portfolio holder for housing Neil Macdonald said now that planning permission had been granted the authority would put the work to build the homes out to tender.

He said: “We will start that process straight away but because of the pre-election period during April and early May the executive cannot decide on the contractor until its meeting in June.

“But hopefully they will be able to start soon after being appointed so there should be work on site during the second half of the year.”

Mr Macdonald said this should mean the first homes would be completed in early 2018.

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It will be one of the larger council housing developments in Ipswich over the last few decades: “It is significant because it means that 60 families will get new council homes. That is very good news,” said Mr Macdonald.

Meanwhile preliminary talks have started with the NHS about building a new large surgery on part of the site which would replace existing surgeries at Deben Road, Chesterfield Drive and possibly the Norwich Road surgery.

That would create a new large surgery similar in scale to the Two Rivers Medical Centre in east Ipswich which is able to provide a greater range of services than a normal GP practice.

However a new development here is still some way away – council leader David Ellesmere said talks had been positive but it was still very early days and the NHS has other priorities on its hands at present.

Local MP Dr Dan Poulter said “This sounds to be, on the whole, a sensible proposal that will provide more integrated and joined up delivery of healthcare services for people in North West Ipswich, as well as providing a wider range of services currently only available at Ipswich Hospital, closer to home.

“I would, however, be concerned if this surgery was in any way seen as a retreat by the local NHS in supporting the development of better medical facilities for Dr Naqvi and his team in Claydon and Barham.”

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