Developers have made public their detailed proposals for a 2,700-home “garden village” near Ipswich. If approved, the development would see 350 acres of open farmland between Foxhall and Nacton transformed into a new local community.
As well as housing – including 900 affordable homes – the Orwell Green development would incorporate new schools, sport facilities, shops and other amenities. While the site developers Gladman are keen to move forward with this “ideal opportunity to create a self-sufficient new settlement”, the garden village development has been the subject of considerable controversy and objections since it was first proposed.
Background to the plans
Although the latest garden village scheme may now be approaching a stage where final approval may be forthcoming and building will start, the project in broader terms has a controversial history stretching back to the 1980s, when initial proposals were raised for developments to the north of Ipswich. When the earliest iteration of the current development – for 3,500 new homes – was first proposed for planning permission in 2016, Suffolk County Council highlighted a number of concerns regarding the plans, including issues relating to draining, road infrastructure, traffic congestion and the provision of schools for families living in the development.
The developers had been banking on approval of initial planning permission in early 2017, but due to objections and concerns raised by both the local council and residents, this didn’t happen until April 2018. The development ran into further problems later that year, with Suffolk County Council dismissing the developers’ “speculative” plans, stressing that their own “new Local Plan does not include this proposal”.
Speaking at the time Councillor Susan Harvey, vice-chair of the planning committee, said: “We have identified where the new homes are needed in the district right through to 2036 … I understand that people living in Bucklesham and the area around here will be concerned – but I really don’t think there is any need for these homes and little likelihood of this proposal ever being built.”
What’s the latest news on the development?
The latest development in the saga of the Ipswich garden village project has been a four-week public consultation which ran from 5 June. This has now closed, and what follows next will be a 16-week determination period running until the middle of September. It’s worth noting that while Gladman are keen to pursue the development on Foxhall/Nacton site, this still doesn’t tie in with the council’s Local Plan, which proposes plans for alternative “garden villages” at Felixstowe and Saxmundham.
If approved, Gladman’s Orwell Green development would deliver some 2,700 new homes, with a third comprising affordable housing and 70 apartments with care provision. Amenities and employment opportunities would include retail, a medical centre and pharmacy, community hall, nursery and creche facilities, a pub and a market square. Land would be set aside for two new primary schools, sports pitches and tennis courts, and a village green including a bowling green and cricket pitch. Other amenities would include a café, community park and play parks, allotments, footpaths, cycling routes and a community orchard.
Keep an eye on The Mortgage Centres blog for all the latest news on the Garden Village proposals and all other local developments.