Major setback for Ipswich Northern Fringe plans

Some of the land which could be developed for the Northern Fringe.

Some of the land which could be developed for the Northern Fringe.

Proposals for the first stage in the development of Ipswich’s Northern Fringe have been dealt a massive blow.

Northern Fringe development - how the homes could look.

Northern Fringe development - how the homes could look. - Credit: contributed

County council officials say more evidence is needed before proposals for the first phase of the scheme are given the green light.

That does not affect the masterplan for the development, which was approved by the borough in September, but it does put up a huge hurdle for the first planning application by Mersa Homes.

The county’s cabinet is being recommended it objects to the planning application as more evidence is needed on issues such as transport, education provision and drainage before the plans can be backed.

While the county council said it recognises the need for residential development in the north of Ipswich, it said it will not support applications where developers are not taking enough action to provide sufficient infrastructure to allow the development to be a success.

Ipswich Borough Council has the final say on the plans, but County Hall is consulted on all applications due to its responsibility for issues such as highways and education.

Graham Newman, county councillor for roads, transport and planning, said: “The current application will set the tone, if not the precedent, for the rest of the Northern Fringe and it needs to provide certainty as to how it and the rest of the development will be sustainable.

“This application does not provide the county council with enough evidence to be sure that the development will be sustainable and deliver the necessary infrastructure.

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“It is important that we are confident the best has been secured for residents, businesses and the people of Ipswich before we support this application.

“I really hope our concerns are addressed before Ipswich Borough Council considers approving this application.

“In looking to the future, when even more development may come forward here and to the east of Ipswich, I have asked officers to embark on a piece of work to consider options for potential new highway capacity to the north of Ipswich.

“It is clear that funding for a scheme is some way off but I want to make sure that we are in the strongest possible position to put the case when any funding opportunities that arise.”

Independent transport experts reviewed the developer’s plans and raised “significant concerns” about the quality of the evidence, and raised questions about how proposed measures would be delivered.

It is not the first time the county council has raised concerns about transport on the proposed scheme, as the issue was highlighted in February last year.

Suffolk County Council’s cabinet is set to meet next Tuesday, November 11.

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