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Ipswich: Plans withdrawn for St Clements hospital homes

09:25 24 January 2014

St Clements Hospital site, Ipswich

St Clements Hospital site, Ipswich

Proposals to create more than 200 new homes on the site of the former St Clement’s Hospital have been withdrawn after the borough and a health authority disagreed about the number of “affordable” properties to be built there.

The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), which owns the site, had applied for permission to convert the Victorian hospital into 48 homes and to build a further 179 homes in its grounds.

Borough planners felt the design of the development was acceptable, but felt that 35% of the new-build homes should be “affordable” and offered to a housing association.

The NSFT, which runs mental health services in the two counties, felt this was too high a proportion – it had proposed that about 4.5% of homes should be affordable and said that a higher proportion would make the entire scheme uneconomic.

The application was discussed by councillors in December, but they put off making a decision to allow for more negotiations with the NSFT. However, the trust decided to withdraw the application.

Leigh Fleming, commercial director at the NSFT, said: “We have worked for some time with Ipswich Borough Council to resolve the future of the St Clement’s Hospital site.

“While the council had no overall objections, there were some finer details – specifically the agreements that deal with social housing – which we were unable to resolve at this time.

“We recognise that the local community desperately needs additional housing and we will be meeting with Ipswich Borough Council over the next few weeks to bring the matter to a speedy and mutually beneficial conclusion.”

The council’s opposition housing spokeswoman Judy Terry said the decision was a major blow for the town.

She said: “The trust employed external consultants and the borough employed different external consultants. Both said the scheme would not be viable if the borough insisted on 35% of affordable homes.

“But officers came up with a report that said the target was feasible – even though the trust made it clear that would cause it to lose money on the deal, and as a government body it has to secure the best possible deal.

“Now there’s going to be yet more empty land in Ipswich that will left empty because the borough insists on this high threshold – what about building homes that people can afford to buy?”

Ipswich Conservative MP Ben Gummer warned that the borough was becoming a “no-go” area for developers.

He said: “It’s only interested in the Northern Fringe. There is a desperate need for new houses, especially starter homes for people to buy, and the borough’s policy is strangling that.”

Borough leader David Ellesmere said it was important to ensure as many affordable properties as possible were built in the town – his authority is currently planning to build about 300 council houses over the next three years.

He said: “We have spoken to independent experts and they say the figure for affordable homes on that site is achievable and we will be speaking again to the trust about this.”

The borough had made a bid for the land last year to develop a mixed private/council housing development, and would be interested in reviving that proposal if the NSFT wanted to sell the site.

12 comments

  • Ok. Is it me OR Has the number of people jumping off the bridge gone up since they closed st clements?? Not being perdantic but there seems to be a direct corralation of numbers here.

    Report this comment

    Joe bloggs

    Friday, January 24, 2014

  • Waspie's wife..it should have money put into and be updated for the ever increaing need for suitable help for the mentally ill.

    Report this comment

    waspie

    Friday, January 24, 2014

  • Should have stayed open as a hospital, not enough beds for mentally ill patients.

    Report this comment

    clowe

    Friday, January 24, 2014

  • No Joe it's not just you saying this special schools being closed as well does not help ,but as RED T Manning has said it's all down to the job centres and the goverment ordering water can that people are jumping off the bridge ,what rubbish

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

  • What this article fails to mention is the amount of local residents that objected to this development because of the effect on the local infrastructure. The schools in this area are at maximum capacity and the roads cannot cope with the increase in traffic. No solutions to these objections were put forward by the planners. Convert the hospital building into flats and turn the rest into a park for the benefit of the area was a general consensus you still get 50 units and a nice open area. Basically the NHS cannot make a profit building all these affordable homes and the council have sold off so many council houses that they won't give planning permission until they get their own way and build 35% of affordable homes so it is stalemate again. The NHS and borough council don't give a damm about local residents so keep objecting folks until they listen.

    Report this comment

    royg

    Friday, January 24, 2014

  • Waspie's wife..it should have money put into and be updated for the ever increaing need for suitable help for the mentally ill.

    Report this comment

    waspie

    Friday, January 24, 2014

  • Calm before the storm that was.. Tescos will now put an application in bribe ( oops cant say that.. ) financially persude the council and build a superstore there. Maybe tesco promise to put in shed loads of traffic lights, thats why they get their applications approved

    Report this comment

    Joe bloggs

    Friday, January 24, 2014

  • What this article fails to mention is the amount of local residents that objected to this development because of the effect on the local infrastructure. The schools in this area are at maximum capacity and the roads cannot cope with the increase in traffic. No solutions to these objections were put forward by the planners. Convert the hospital building into flats and turn the rest into a park for the benefit of the area was a general consensus you still get 50 units and a nice open area. Basically the NHS cannot make a profit building all these affordable homes and the council have sold off so many council houses that they won't give planning permission until they get their own way and build 35% of affordable homes so it is stalemate again. The NHS and borough council don't give a damm about local residents so keep objecting folks until they listen.

    Report this comment

    royg

    Friday, January 24, 2014

  • Not sure how the health trust can claim they might make a loss if they don't get their way as presumably continued ownership of something they no longer need is a cost for them. By creating affordable housing for a housing association is just moving a public asset from one public body to another one. If more services (school places etc.) are required then presumably there will be 106 money from the developer although some funding from the public purse if the development value is reduced by the number of affordable houses. Why are MPs and councilors objecting?

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Friday, January 24, 2014

  • Waspie's wife..it should have money put into and be updated for the ever increaing need for suitable help for the mentally ill.

    Report this comment

    waspie

    Friday, January 24, 2014

  • Build a park and do something nice for the community rather than build more houses, clog up the roads even more and put a strain on the schools. That would be common sense, but unfortunately we live in a world where that rarely exists.

    Report this comment

    Tedbundy

    Friday, January 24, 2014

  • Point taken pandy many thanks. So it would appear that at least three people in ipswich can see this. So why ant local govenment?? Do they think ts just cheaper o let M.H patients just jump rather than treating them to save a couple of quid. Just shows how much the local govenment (which i hasten to add the people that comment on here votef into power) place a cash value on someones life. Come on ipswich time to wake up and smell the coffee, together we can do something about this and get the M.H service IE st clemets reinstated. As for the star are YOU with us or are you going tosit on the fence as its news to you. If enough people shout long enough and hard enough then action has to be taken ( and no im not calling for a revolution here just some good old common sense)

    Report this comment

    Joe bloggs

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

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