What is it? | Current Status |
Our Concerns

Unfortunately the Ipswich Core Strategy is based on out of date evidence and assumptions from the earlier boom times from 2000 -2008, particularly on jobs and housing growth. For legal reasons it had to be based upon the unrealistic aspirational targets set by the now abolished East of England Assembly. Unfortunately much has changed. Since 2001 the number of Ipswich based jobs has shrunk and even prior to the downturn the predicted jobs growth within the Borough over the next 15 years was small, certainly not sufficient to justify the development of the Northern Fringe.

Ipswich Borough Council faces a dilemma. The Core Strategy states that it is a 'jobs-led growth strategy', Ipswich Borough Council wants to see housing developed on the Ipswich Northern Fringe but recognises that it cannot be justified based on the jobs growth within Ipswich. So, Ipswich Borough Council chooses to remain silent on jobs growth within Ipswich but instead focuses on a much wider area, known as the Ipswich Policy Area' that includes areas from the neighbouring authorities of Suffolk Coastal, Babergh and Mid-Suffolk where forecast jobs growth is much higher than Ipswich. In effect the Ipswich Northern Fringe is being sacrificed to meet the housing needs of potential jobs growth in neighbouring boroughs, specifically Adastral Park, Felixstowe Docks, Ransomes Europark and Snoasis.

However, the neighbouring authorities also have plans to build housing close to where jobs are expected to grow, e.g. Adastral Park and Trimley, which makes more sense. The Ipswich Northern Fringe has poor transport links, already suffers from traffic congestion and is poorly located near to where jobs growth is predicted. Plus it is prime agricultural land unlike some of the alternative sites.

We believe there should be greater co-operation, as required by the new National Planning Policy Framework, between Ipswich Borough Council and neighbouring authorities on the planning of major housing developments within the Ipswich Policy Area whilst encouraging the development of brown-field sites first. So far this is not happening other than in a superficial capacity and key meeting documents such as employment and housing need forecasts are not being made public despite an ongoing freedom of information request. Rather than each local authority having Local Plans that do not dovetail together, it is our view that a high level local plan should be jointly prepared and agreed by the neighbouring authorities for the Ipswich Policy Area, identifying the scale and distribution of new housing and employment and the provision of key infrastructure.

We support a review of the Ipswich Core Strategy using up-to-date relevant evidence focused upon jobs growth; population growth and housing need within Ipswich. Furthermore, the adoption of Ipswich Northern Fringe Masterplan, including start date, extent and phasing should be made contingent upon the outcome of the Core Strategy Review showing if and when it was needed. Unfortunately Ipswich Borough Council have decided that the principle for the development cannot be revisited regardless of the latest evidence and that the review of the Core Strategy will not effect a 'go decision' on the first phase only the timing and extent of subsequent phases. We feel this is wrong, particularly as there is no urgency to steamroller through this important decision and the current slow down in construction is not as a result of a lack of land or planning permissions. Once started there will be no going back since the whole development will need to proceed in a timely manner to ensure the infrastructure such as roads, schools, shops and green spaces are provided.