Developer's frustration at council move

A DEVELOPER has said he is "extremely frustrated" at a council's decision to block his proposals for affordable housing.Fred Paskell, managing director of F and J Properties Ltd, has now written to the deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, appealing for help with the dispute he is having with Ipswich Borough Council.

A DEVELOPER has said he is "extremely frustrated" at a council's decision to block his proposals for affordable housing.

Fred Paskell, managing director of F and J Properties Ltd, has now written to the deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, appealing for help with the dispute he is having with Ipswich Borough Council.

Mr Paskell said he wants to build 50 to 100 homes for first time buyers at Goodwood Close in Ipswich, a site that he argues has no agricultural or scenic value.

The dispute dates back to 1989 when the land, which is part of a greenfield site, was the subject of a local plan inquiry. The inspector concluded that if a need for housing arose in the borough then the 1.5 hectares at Goodwood Close would be an ideal site.


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However planning permission for the low-cost homes has been rejected. Instead the council is proposing to build 1,500 houses only 200m away on another greenfield site between Henley Road and Westerfield Road.

Mr Paskell said: "They have insisted that this will be a site for affordable homes but that is exactly what they said before they developed the docks and the airport and there are no affordable houses there at all. It is impossible to buy an apartment at the docks for less than £200,000.

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"The development at the Westerfield Road site is also three to four years away. There are no drains in and no infrastructure. It will not be approved until 2005 and it will be in 2006 or 2007 before we see a single house up there. Building on the Goodwood Close site could start right away if we could only get planning approval.

"If they can build on one side of the road then they can build on the other. The council is just being pedantic."

The council is now in the process of imposing a Tree Preservation Order on a copse, which will split the site in two.

Mr Paskell said: "The order is to protect strong and healthy trees. There are two or three trees of value, which we would not want to knock over anyway, but all the rest is either scrub or dying trees.

"This is extremely frustrating and I think it is just an attempt by the council to frustrate future planning applications and appeals."

Mike Smith, head of planning and development at the council, said: "Mr Paskell's application was refused as it was outside of the built area of Ipswich and there is no particular reason why we would allow a development in open countryside.

"The site between Westerfield Road and Henley Road is just a proposal at the moment which will run through the local planning process. It is not our land over the road. We have to plan for the growth of Ipswich and this is where we think the growth should occur. I am sure the proposal will be subjected to a public inquiry.

"Mr Paskell may think there are only one or two trees that need protecting but we have to make sure that trees are not being lost unnecessarily.

"Our view is that rather than just add another 50 or 60 dwellings on to Ipswich protruding out into the countryside it is better to have one significant development with the facilities, such as a school and shopping centres, and make a proper community."

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