Bid for new Ipswich care home at garden centre site withdrawn

Victoria Nurseries in Ipswich

The care home would have been built on the site of Victoria Nurseries. - Credit: Google

A proposal to build a new care home on the site of Victoria Nurseries, off Ipswich's Westerfield Road, has been withdrawn amid widespread opposition.

It means the popular garden centre run by Ian May should stay open for the rest of the year, while developers behind the proposal consider their next move.

The application for the 73-bed home was formally lodged with Ipswich council just before Christmas, after an online public consultation process in the autumn.

New Home CGI

A CGI of the proposed home at Kettlebaston Way. - Credit: Ipswich Council

This attracted concern from neighbours about the scale of the building and its impact on nearby homes.

There was also opposition from Suffolk County Council's highways department, because of concern about the access into the site from Kettlebaston Way off Westerfield Road.

They were also worried about the small number of parking spaces - 25 - being proposed for such a large care home in an area that has very limited public transport.

The application was withdrawn this month after developers were told planners were likely to urge councillors to reject the plans.

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However Mr May said he expected an amended application to be made in the future.

Ian May at Victoria Nurseries

Ian May should still be selling Christmas trees at the end of this year. - Credit: Archant

He said: "I will try to get planning permission for another year to keep us here until Christmas. A lot of people have said how much they appreciate what we have been able to offer them during the lockdown."

Local councillor Inga Lockington said many residents would be relieved the application has been withdrawn.

She said: "No-one objects to the principle of a care home - I think everyone knows that we might need one at some stage ourselves.

"But it is the size of the building on what is not a very large site that has got people worried.

"And there are nowhere near enough parking spaces there. How do the developers think staff are going to get to and from it at all times of the day and night when there are so few buses?

"I hope they look for somewhere else better suited to what they want to build - I think people understand that care homes need to be large enough to provide all the services they need."

In its application form, developers First Care Homes said: "The design proposal has been developed to maximise the benefits of the site, while reducing the impact of the neighbouring properties and surrounding context."

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