St Clements decision put off for more negotiations

St Clements Hospital site, Ipswich

St Clements Hospital site, Ipswich - Credit: Archant

Proposals to build more than 200 homes on the site of the former St Clement’s Hospital in Ipswich have been deferred to allow more negotiations with the NHS body that owns the site.

Members of the borough’s planning and development committee had been recommended to reject the application by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

In their report to the committee, officers said that while the design and layout of the site was acceptable, the owners were not proposing to include enough “affordable” homes in the scheme.

And the officers were also concerned about the small amount the site owners were prepared to put into local services to enable them to cope with more residents.

The borough usually looks for 35% of homes to be “affordable” – the application proposed that only 4.5% of homes should be affordable.

And the developers were offering only £180,000 for investment in schools and roads in the area when the council’s target would be a contribution of £1.5 million.

James Lawson, agent for the NHS Trust, said the nature of the site meant it would become uneconomic if too large a proportion of affordable housing was included.

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He said the applicants had consulted lawyers and would be considering an appeal if it was turned down.

Former council leader Liz Harsant said some vital papers had arrived late and members of the committee had not had time to fully analyse them or get a full briefing from officers.

Some of the papers contained confidential information – and she felt there should be more time for negotiations with the applicants.

The majority agreed and voted to defer the item.