Town keeps the faith despite fears over Waterfront demise

ipswich: As proposals to build another 47 flats in the Waterfront area are re-submitted, the borough’s economic development chief insisted the town would “take off” over the next few years.

Ipswich is one of ten boroughs and districts in England expected to show the greatest population growth over the next eight years, according to government statistics.

But leading estate agents Savills has warned that the community will not enjoy the same benefits as some other places because there is already a glut of new homes in the town.

However Richard Atkins, who is responsible for planning and economic development on the borough’s executive, remained confident that the town’s expansion would continue.

He said: “There are plenty of development opportunities in the town and Ipswich remains somewhere that is relatively affordable.

“People are moving here from London because it is cheaper and they are moving into town from the nearby countryside because homes are more affordable.

“I am sure development will continue – not necessarily next week but I’m sure that within the next five years things will look very different.

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“As more people move to the town, the shopping centre will expand.”

Mr Atkins was speaking after an application for a new seven-storey block of 47 flats next to Felaw Maltings was re-submitted to the borough – just days after it received a detailed planning application for a new 396-home development from the Genesis Housing Group.

Marcus Dixon, associate director of Savills residential research, said: “Ipswich is forecast to be the 8th highest growth area in terms of population over the next eight years.

“Although the resident population is expected to increase by 15.3per cent, high levels of new supply do mean that there could still be a potential surplus of some types of housing (especially flats), even when the significant population growth is taken into account.”

However, he said that the comparative cheapness of property in the town at present and the forecast growth over the next decade meant it should be an attractive area for investment in the longer term when the buy-to-rent market picks up.

n Can Ipswich cope with new homes? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail