New homes ‘would jump the gun’

CONTROVERSIAL proposals for a 1,000-home estate would damage hopes for a comprehensive redevelopment of Ipswich’s northern fringe, it has been claimed.

That was the claim as Mersea Homes’ appeal against the borough’s refusal to allow it to build a new estate off Westerfield Road began.

The company wants to build 1,085 homes, a new small shopping centre and a new primary school on the site between Westerfield and Henley Roads, bordering on to the Railway line.

Its application was turned down last year by borough planners who want to wait until 2016 to draw up a masterplan for the entire northern fringe of Ipswich, which will include other land of Henley Road to the north of the railway line and land on the other side of Westerfield Road.

Simon Bird QC, representing the borough, told the opening of the public inquiry that Mersea Homes’ proposals did not look enough at the wider proposals for the area.

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He said: “The design process for the appeal scheme has not involved any meaningful consideration of the requirements of a comprehensive development of the Northern Fringe.

“The design approach has been a self-centred one.”

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Mr Bird said Mersea Homes accepted that the site was crucial to the total development of the area.

Robin Purchase QC, for Mersea Homes, said there would not be enough land in Ipswich to be developed in the years up to 2015: “There would be no prejudice in the fact that development commenced earlier to meet the identified shortfall.”

And he added: “The proposed development would be sustainable and inclusive with it surrounding area and secure high standards of urban layout and design.”

The inquiry is expected to last at least 10 days and as well as evidence from experts, there will be a chance for local residents to give their views.

The result of the public inquiry is expected to be published towards the end of the year.

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