Northern Fringe Master Planning Workshop
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21st July 2012

As part of a drive to engage the local community in the planning of the Ipswich Northern Fringe, Ipswich Borough Council arranged, through David Lock Associates, a Master Planning Workshop on 21st July 2012 at the Ipswich Sports Club, Henley Road Ipswich. The purpose of the workshop was to bring different groups together to discuss issues and principles for the development, and to begin to explore ideas about master planning the land at the Northern Fringe. Although we feel the development is unnecessary at this time and will adversely affect the regeneration of the town centre, if it is to go ahead then it should be done in a planned way that results in an attractive development whilst minimising negative impacts on existing residents. We attended together with 18 other organisations, including Save our Country Spaces; Ipswich Society; Ipswich, Suffolk and Westerfield Councils; the developers; Consultants and 26 members of the public.

Key issues and concerns included traffic congestion, including site access and the impact on neighbouring roads including ‘rat runs’, lack of jobs growth within Ipswich coupled with poor links to identified jobs growth sites and the need for community facilities in the north of Ipswich. It was felt that the development should be of a high standard modelled along the lines of a garden suburb with lots of open space including a country park and green corridors that retain and enhance existing landscaping. The housing should be low-rise low density catering for a variety of local needs and include adequate off-road parking and play space for children. Community facilities being considered including a ‘district centre’ with a secondary and primary school, shops, community building, doctor’s surgery etc and two further primary schools so that there is one for each of the three sites. The Northern Fringe naturally falls into 3 sites separated by Westerfield Road and the Ipswich – Felixstowe railway line and the challenge would be to form an integrated community with an easily accessible centre and close links to neighbouring communities, so that the latter may benefit from the new facilities.

The meeting was spit into 6 teams each of which was tasked to produce an outline master plan subject to a number of constraints. Each team was given a number of coloured ‘tiles’ to arrange over the site where a particular tile represented a unit of open space, housing, education facility, community and commercial activities and employment facilities. Housing represented approximately 50% of the area with open space 30%. The next step is for David Lock Associates to consider the designs together with other public feedback and construct 3-4 feasible options for a public exhibition and consultation in the Autumn.

Other snippets from the day include the proposed replacement of the Westerfield and Tuddenham Road roundabouts on the Valley Road with traffic lights and 20mph speed limits being imposed on Westerfield Road and within the Northern Fringe development.

The workshop report can be found here

If you wish to comment please email nfpg@btinternet.com