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Newsletter, July 2012 (Issue 188)

The Northern Fringe


Northern Fringe
Ipswich Borough Council's Core Strategy consultation
Towards a draft Master Plan

The Ipswich Society's Response The Ipswich Society have accepted for some years that development on greenfield land to the north of Ipswich is both a necessity and inevitable. We also accept that the time span of progress is not pre-determinable by master-planning (evidence - Ravenswood which is being built at a rate determined by the developer rather than the original planners - and this rate is, in turn, determined by economic activity elsewhere).

The Ipswich Society are also aware of the potential within the Northern Fringe of a substantial number of homes (possibly up to 5,000 over an extended time frame). The importance of these extremely high figures is that infrastructure, in the form of roads and services, should be designed to be capable of carrying the expected traffic irrespective of any short term lower target housing figures.

Therefore there must be a comprehensive master plan for the whole geographical area (which includes, where necessary, off-site alterations and additions). For the purpose of long-term planning the whole area should include those parcels of land between Henley, Westerfield and Tuddenham Roads, north of Valley Road and south of Lower Road and Church Lane, Westerfield. Master planning within this area must take account of existing communities (and the need for open space between existing houses and new development, open space for leisure and recreation - country park, nature reserve, sports grounds and children's play grounds) and the possible retention, at least in the medium term, of some agricultural land.

In respect of planning for a transport infrastructure, a wider geographical area must be considered to establish and counter the likely impact on movement between the Northern Fringe and the town centre, and across existing residential areas both east and west of the proposed development. Of particular concern is the provision of sustainable transport infrastructure between residential areas and existing employment hubs.

There are three important considerations before master-planning of the Northern Fringe:

  1. The availability of previously developed land close to the town centre, including land currently earmarked for retail, land on or close to the Waterfront, and land within Greater Ipswich but currently lying just outside the Borough boundary.
  2. The likely growth of employment opportunities and the demand this will make on the requirements for housing, together with the location of such jobs., i.e. the demand for new housing will to some extent be driven by employment growth; thus the need to develop the Northern Fringe should be delayed until other development land, closer to the town centre, closer to employment areas east of Ipswich, is at least under way.
  3. Increased traffic will be an inevitable consequence of residential development on the Northern Fringe and the infrastructure necessary (including public transport and cycle routes) should be constructed and operating before the first residential unit is occupied.

Footnotes:

  • Retail land that should be used for town centre living could include Cox Lane and adjoining car parks and the former Civic Centre site.
  • Brownfield sites close to the Waterfront for development before the Northern Fringe include Eagle Wharf and immediately adjoining sites, the former Volvo site and land adjacent to Stoke Quays.
  • Sites on the boundary of Ipswich include the former Sugar Beet site at Sproughton, the former Took's bakery on Norwich Road and land close to the Suffolk Showground. Note must also be taken of developments that may be granted permission at Martlesham and Trimley which will impact on the demand for housing within the Borough boundary.
  • Comprehensive plans for the use of Westerfield station and suitable connections to employment sites, retail and leisure provision and other transport hubs should be explored and exploited.
  • A primary cycle route between the town centre and the Northern Fringe. Further cycle routes should be identified across the reasonable level ground between the Northern Fringe and the employment sites in east Ipswich which avoid main roads.
    Front cover of issue 188 Cover, issue 188

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