'A lovely green space' - race against time to buy mini-Ipswich woodland

A group of residents are hoping to buy and preserve White Elm Woodland in Ipswich

A group of residents are hoping to buy and preserve White Elm Woodland in Ipswich - Credit: Richard Bloomfield

A group of residents face a race against time to buy and protect a mini-woodland near their homes.

They have set up a Crowdfunder page and plan to make an offer for the 1.3-acre site close to the Waterfront, which they say could become a "pocket park".

The land, off Mitre Way and White Elm Street, is a remnant of a much larger parkland area, and it is on the market with a guide price of £90,000.

A planning application to build a house and garage on the site was refused by Ipswich Borough Council in 2018.

Nearby residents are appealing for donations and support for the White Elm Woodland to be preserved as a mini reserve. They have set up a Community Interest Company to support their efforts.

Richard Bloomfield, one of the organisers of an appeal to buy White Elm Woodland in Ipswich

Richard Bloomfield, one of the organisers of an appeal to buy White Elm Woodland in Ipswich, pictured here in another woodland area - Credit: Richard Bloomfield

Richard Bloomfield, one of the organisers, said: “Areas like this are the green lung of the town centre and are vital for the town’s health and community. It is a lovely green space which needs to be preserved for local people to cherish and enjoy.

“There is lots of wildlife here, bats and butterflies, water voles and even foxes. We have seen Muntjac deer, tawny owls, stag beetles, toads and hedgehogs."

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Mr Bloomfield said they are aiming to fundraise at least £25,000, and also have some private donations and grant funding.

He added: “If we are serious about making Ipswich a greener town, with more trees and planting and pocket parks, we need to try and save sites like this.

“There is even a Victorian swimming pond, fed by springs, which must be great for frogs and other animals. This is a big opportunity to do something important for the ecology and wildlife corridors in the town.”

Mr Bloomfield is also involved with the Oasis Project, which aims to turn Ipswich town centre and Waterfront green.

Ipswich borough councillor Liz Harsant

Ipswich borough councillor Liz Harsant - Credit: Archant

Ipswich borough councillor Liz Harsant is supporting the CIC and said she had been involved with efforts to preserve the woodland since 2002.

"There have been many planning applications to build on the site, and all of them have been turned down.

"I want to see the woodland protected. It was part of Holywells Park and has become part of a whole series of small woodlands. It is so important for wildlife."

A view of the woodland area near the Waterfront in Ipswich

A view of the woodland area near the Waterfront in Ipswich - Credit: Richard Bloomfield

The plot is on sale with Fenn Wright, with bids due in by December 15, but the group say they need to have their funding in place by December 6 so they have time to finalise the bid.  

A spokesman for Fenn Wright said: "We have received a good level of enquiries for the property from a wide variety of interested parties."

For more details and to donate, visit the White Elm Woodland Crowdfunder page.

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