Poll: Ipswich’s population to rise to 150,000 within just seven years – prompting fears over demand on schools, health care and housing

Ipswich's population is rapidly expanding - and could hit 150,000 within seven years

Ipswich's population is rapidly expanding - and could hit 150,000 within seven years - Credit: Archant

Ipswich’s population is set to rocket to 150,000 within only seven years, a new report has found – prompting concerns over how equipped the town’s infrastructure is to cope.

Ipswich’s population is set to rocket to 150,000 within only seven years, a new report has found – prompting concerns over how equipped the town’s infrastructure is to cope.

The most recent census revealed the population has leapt by 16,236 to 133,400 during the last decade.

And the State of Ipswich report, compiled by Ipswich Borough Council, estimates the town’s population could spiral by another 17,000 by 2020.

But there are fears the continuing surge could place too much demand on health services, housing and schools.


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The town is one of the most rapidly expanding in the UK, according to the new study. The report, which is set to go before the council’s executive next week, reveals the town is the fourth of 59 fastest growing Primary Urban Areas in England and Wales.

Borough leaders say Ipswich can handle the increase in population.

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But Dr Alan Murray, Suffolk County Council’s portfolio holder for health, said drastic changes were needed to stem an intolerable pressure on health services, with funding to help provide adult social care dwindling.

He said the county has applied for a slice of £3billion of Department of Health funding to help integrate hospital and GP care with adult social care.

But without major changes in the way the frontline health service links with places like care homes, the whole system could cripple under the pressures.

“By 2017 our budget will reduce to such a point that we are concerned about our statutory requirements for health and adult social care,” he warned. “We have to radically change the way we currently work and soon. It is vital given the significant strain on our A&E. These are very challenging times.”

He also questioned whether money set aside for new developments, like the Northern Fringe, to provide infrastructure including schools and GP practices was being used correctly.

“This threatened increase in population means we must act now to plan for the future. It could be very worrying if the proper long-term planning isn’t done.”

In yesterday’s Star we revealed St Margaret’s Primary School is set to double in size in the next six years, with Hillside and Rushmere Hall increasing places by 50% to account for population rises.

The Star previously reported on a baby boom in the town, with a 40% rise in births over the decade spanning 2002-2012.

But David Ellesmere, leader of the borough council, moved to reassure people that the ground work had begun.

“Preparation has already started,” he said. “We have got to look at some of the things that will enable that growth to happen.

“Funding for the flood defences which we won will enable many new homes to be built in areas where previously that wouldn’t have been possible because of the flood risk.

“Equally north Ipswich is a major growth area. There are concerns about transport links but the LDS has been to the government inspector and they have okayed it.

“New schools and a district shopping centre are all included in the plans. When planning these new communities these things are all taken into account.

“All these things bring challenges but I think we are well placed to rise to them.”

The report found that there are more than 70 main languages are spoken in the town with English, Polish and Portuguese ranking in the top three.

The State of Ipswich report also highlights the town’s higher levels of child poverty.

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