Ipswich: Don’t drive warning to potential homebuyers on northern fringe

Land earmarked for the Northern Fringe development.

Land earmarked for the Northern Fringe development.

DON’T expect to drive to work if you buy a home on the new northern fringe development. That’s the blunt message from the county council to anyone considering buying a home on the 3,500-home new community over the next few years.

The Conservative county cabinet yesterday considered its response to the borough’s planning blueprint for the development.

Cabinet member with responsibility for planning and transport Guy McGregor said: “We are very concerned that Ipswich Borough Council has not considered the impact of all the new housing on the roads.

“At present, their proposals are inadequate, and we ask that they reconsider the plans in the light of our feedback.”

He said active measures would have to be taken to prevent private cars joining the area’s congested roads during rush hours – probably by setting up traffic lights to hold them on the development.

“If you have a car, don’t expect to drive it into Ipswich, or off to Bury, Colchester, or Norwich during rush hours,” he said.

“Of course there should be no problem at quieter times but it is important that people moving to the area know what the situation is.”

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He said there should be adequate public transport for the new residents – and new cycle routes would be created.

Mr McGregor said the borough should look at developing more brownfield sites in the town before the northern fringed was developed.

That prompted Labour leader Sandy Martin – a member of the borough executive committee – to ask: “How can we get more brownfield sites developed? There are planning approvals sitting on many brownfield sites in the town, and no one wants to develop them!”

Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors from the north of Ipswich said there was no sign of the traffic issues being resolved.

Robin Vickery and Mary Young both called for a new relief road to be built from the northern fringe to the A14 near Claydon.

Mr Vickery said: “If you think you’re going to build thousands of new homes and their owners are not going to use their cars you are living in dreamland!”

Lib Dem councillor Inga Lockington lives on Westerfield Road, one of the routes that would be most affected by the new development.

She said: “The road cannot cope now. The roads around Bolton Lane are seriously congested and there has to be major improvements. No one really knows how to cope with this.”

The borough will consider all the representations about the northern fringe over the next few months and is expected to produce a detailed planning masterplan towards the end of the year.

Should northern fringe residents be banned from using their cars at rush hour? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk

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