Ipswich Conservatives regret that serious concerns were not given further thought before the planning application was approved at the planning committee on Wednesday 8 February. We accept that there is a need for additional housing in Ipswich, however this application for Ipswich Garden Suburb (IGS) has in our opinion been prematurely rushed through.
Those concerns are:
a) Traffic is a major issue as there is already much congestion in the area. With 1100 dwellings the Henley Gate development alone will ultimately add at least 1500 cars to those already using Henley Road as cars will only be able to access the development from Henley Road. There will be a severe impact on the traffic using Henley Road and particularly the Henley Road/Valley Road junction. This is acknowledged by the Highway Authority. Further air pollution will be inevitable and will impact adversely on air quality for local residents.
b) Following extensive work between Ben Gummer MP and Suffolk County Council, the latter recently published some new possible route options for a northern relief road– often also referred to as a ‘Northern Bypass’. Insufficient attention was paid at the planning meeting for the urgent need for this northern route to alleviate the traffic problems. The application could have been delayed until the position on the by-pass had been clarified.
c) The increased traffic and inevitable congestion on Henley Road will lead to rat-running through the roads on The Crofts and the Whitton estate. Consideration needs to be given as to how this problem could be mitigated in the interests of local residents. The £100,000 proposed in the Section 106 Agreement to deal with this problem is completely inadequate.
d) The planning application for Henley Gate is being considered before the Borough Council has formally approved the Infrastructure Development Plan for the IGS. It would be far more sensible to agree an overall Infrastructure Plan - and how it is going to be financed with all the developers involved in the IGS first. This piecemeal approach to infrastructure development will not be to the benefit of the residents of the development in the long term and risks long delays whilst details are being worked out.
e) We feel that there has been inadequacy in consultation with local people about the whole development which will cover many acres of greenfield space and add a significant extension to Ipswich.
In conclusion, we feel it would have made sense to delay the planning meeting a short time so that the details relating to traffic, infrastructure etc could have been worked out in a more comprehensive way.