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New life for St Clement's Hospital in Ipswich to start next year

PUBLISHED: 09:32 08 December 2016 | UPDATED: 09:32 08 December 2016

St Clements Hospital site, Ipswich

St Clements Hospital site, Ipswich

Work on one of the biggest new housing developments in Ipswich for years - creating more than 200 new homes - could get under way early next year.

Members of Ipswich Borough Council’s planning and development committee are being advised by their officers to give permission for the construction of 179 new homes in the grounds of the former St Clement’s Hospital on Foxhall Road.

There is also an plan to convert St Clement’s Hospital itself into a further 48 homes, bringing the total number on the site to 227.

That is not included in the application to be discussed next Wednesday – but the conversion work is expected to be carried out at the same time.

Developer Bovis Homes says it hopes to start work as soon as all the planning details are agreed, as early as possible next year – and the whole project is expected to be completed within four years.

A spokesman for the company said: “We are hopeful that our planning application for the development of the land off Foxhall Road will be successful having worked closely with the local authority throughout the process.

“We would start work on site at the earliest opportunity after receiving approval.

“The first homes are currently scheduled to be completed towards the end of 2017, with all homes on the site finished by 2020.”

The conversion work of the Victorian hospital building is being undertaken by another company.

The Bovis spokesman added: “Conversion of the existing hospital buildings is being managed by specialist contractor Lexden Restorations Limited, and this will be carried out concurrent to all other works – starting on site as soon as possible.”

The new development will include 35 “affordable” homes – 20% of the total of new build units.

A requirement to build affordable homes was a major stumbling block when an application to build on the site was first considered by the borough four years ago, but there has now been agreement reached on the figure.

There have been objections from some nearby residents concerned about the density of the proposed new homes and about the impact on traffic using Foxhall Road.

However there has been no objection from Suffolk County Council’s Highways Department.

St Clement’s Hospital was built in 1870 as the Ipswich Lunatic Asylum and evolved to become the centre of mental health care in the town during the 20th century.

It was finally closed as a hospital in 2002 when a new mental health unit was built near Heath Road Hospital although some administrators remained on the site.

The development will retain the bowls green and the sports club on the site – as well as access to the popular golf club behind the hospital site.

The planning application is due to be discussed by Ipswich council’s planning and development committee on Wednesday morning.

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