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Will planning changes mean local residents have no say on new homes in Suffolk?

PUBLISHED: 05:30 12 August 2020 | UPDATED: 08:24 12 August 2020

Ipswich Garden Suburb artists impression - developers have been talking about building on the area since the 1980s. Picture: IPSWICH COUNCIL

Ipswich Garden Suburb artists impression - developers have been talking about building on the area since the 1980s. Picture: IPSWICH COUNCIL

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Local residents could lose the chance of having any say on future development proposals, the leader of Ipswich Council has warned as debate rages about proposals to build new homes in Ravenswood.

David Ellesmere warned of a free-for-all if planning rules are changed. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNDavid Ellesmere warned of a free-for-all if planning rules are changed. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

David Ellesmere said the government’s proposed changes to planning laws could lead to developments being allowed without local authority intervention in many rural areas which have been allocated as areas for more homes.

He said: “I know there are strong feelings about the development at Ravenswood and all of the comments that are received will be considered during the initial consultation for Handford Homes and during the planning process.

“But if these changes are brought in by the government residents will have no chance to make any comment – a developer could come along and they’ll be nothing they can do about it.”

MORE: Ravenswood residents pledge to fight council house plans

Dr Dan Poulter thinks changes could make the planning system clearer. Picture: DR DAN POULTERDr Dan Poulter thinks changes could make the planning system clearer. Picture: DR DAN POULTER

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Mr Ellesmere said the slow progress with many developments was not normally down to councils – developers had obtained planning permission for millions of new homes across the country but had not got on with building because they were waiting for the right time.

The Ipswich Garden Suburb – previously known as the Northern Fringe – has been on the drawing board since the 1980s, but the work has not yet started on the first homes.

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter’s constituency includes part of the area of the proposed Garden Suburb development – but he did not think the changes would allow a planning free-for-all.

He said: “We are still awaiting all the details of the new proposals. But this would only allow development in areas that have been allocated for residential area in a local plan – and developers would have to include appropriate infrastructure work like schools, surgeries and community facilities in any plans. Although the problem with these is often the timing – their construction is not triggered until a certain number of homes is built.”

Dr Poulter felt the changes could introduce an element of certainty into the planning process because developers would know that they had to include infrastructure in any proposals and would not have to negotiate with councils before obtaining permission to build.


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