Draft Site Allocations and Policies (incorporating IP-One Area Action Plan) Development Plan Document
Chapter 2: The Ipswich Local Plan
2.1 The Ipswich Local Plan consists of development plan documents (DPDs) and saved 1997 Ipswich Local Plan policies, supported by policies maps. The DPDs for Ipswich are the adopted Core Strategy and Policies development plan document and the draft focused review, and this draft Site Allocations and Policies (incorporating IP-One Area action Plan) development plan document. Saved 1997 Local Plan Policies also form part of the Local Plan until such time as they are replaced through this Site Allocations plan. In addition to the Local Plan, there are other planning documents for Ipswich:
- Supplementary Planning Documents – for example the Local List (Buildings of Townscape Interest) and draft Northern Fringe area development brief supplementary planning documents; and
- Supporting documents: Statement of Community Involvement, Local Development Scheme, Supplementary Guidance, draft Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Charging Schedule and Authority Monitoring Report.
2.2 The Council’s Core Strategy and Policies development plan document (hereafter referred to as the ‘Core Strategy’) was the first component of the new Ipswich Local Plan (formerly the Local Development Framework) to reach adoption, in December 2011. It is currently under review. The focused review Core Strategy sets out a Borough-wide growth strategy up to 2031 in terms of numbers of homes and jobs needed and also the spatial distribution of growth. The focused review Core Strategy favours brownfield development early in the plan period, in order to maintain the momentum of urban regeneration around the Waterfront. Greenfield development becomes progressively more significant throughout the plan period. The Core Strategy identifies the Northern Fringe of Ipswich as the main area for housing growth on greenfield land.
2.3 This Site Allocations plan will provide the detailed policies, which will give effect to certain strategic policies of the Core Strategy, including policies CS7 (housing), CS13 (employment) and CS14 (retail development). However, it is no longer the case that the Site Allocations plan is required to be in general conformity with the Core Strategy. Indeed, the Site Allocations plan may revise and supersede certain detailed aspects of the Core Strategy in order to respond to changes in national planning policy or updated evidence. Where this is the case, it will be clearly stated in the reasoned justification. The two development plan documents together will form the Ipswich development plan when the Site Allocations plan reaches adoption.
2.4 The Core Strategy is currently under review with a focus on reassessing the need for homes and jobs, taking into account current and projected economic conditions and demographic change. The draft revised Core Strategy provides the context for this Site Allocations Plan. Details are available on the Council’s website.
2.5 The national context for the Ipswich Local Plan is provided by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). It was published in March 2012 and replaced many, though not all, previous Planning Policy Guidance Notes and Planning Policy Statements. One of the tests of soundness for development plan documents is consistency with the policies in the NPPF3.
2.6 The Site Allocations plan incorporates the IP-One Area Action Plan, which was previously consulted upon as a separate stand-alone development plan document within the Ipswich Local Plan. Core Strategy policy CS3 commits the Council to preparing the Area Action Plan to implement the spatial strategy of urban renaissance. Therefore the key elements of the IP-One Area Action Plan have been incorporated into this Site Allocations plan. The area covered by IP-One is indicated on the map below. It includes areas known as the Waterfront, Ipswich Village, the Education Quarter and the town centre. It was defined as an area where significant change is expected during the plan period. Policies applying within the IP-One area and the boundaries of the areas referred to above are shown on an IP-One inset policies map.
Figure 1 IP-One Boundary
2.7 IP-One consists of 301 hectares (just over 3 square kilometres) of low-lying land adjacent to the River Orwell. The ground rises to the north, east and south to ridges, which in many places are wooded and provide a distinctive and attractive green backdrop to the central area. The River represents a positive focus for regeneration, but also something of a barrier to movement, both north-south and east-west. The area includes two large conservation areas - Central (1) and Wet Dock (11) – and the smaller Stoke Conservation Area (9) and a small part of the St Helen’s conservation area (6).
2.8 The IP-One area divides into several identifiable areas of activity: the Central Shopping Area where retailing is the dominant use; the wider town centre where leisure (such as Ipswich Town Football Club) and office uses predominate; the Waterfront with its mix of commercial, leisure, port-related and residential uses; and the Education Quarter where the new University Campus Suffolk and Suffolk New College are the main land uses.
Key Issues for the Site Allocations Plan
2.9 The Council is required to keep under review matters which may be expected to affect the planning and development of the Borough4. Thus a body of evidence underpins the Core Strategy focused review and the Site Allocations plan. Key elements of the local evidence base include:
- the Ipswich Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment update November 2013 (SHLAA),
- the Ipswich, Babergh, Mid Suffolk and Suffolk Coastal Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) 2008 and 2012 update,
- Ipswich Housing Market Area Population and Household Projections September 2013,
- East of England Forecasting Model 2012,
- Suffolk Haven Gateway Employment Land Review 2009 (the ELR),
- Suffolk Growth Strategy 2013,
- New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership ‘Towards a Growth Plan’, July 2013,
- Ipswich Retail and Commercial Leisure Study 2010,
- Town Centre Opportunity Area Report, DTZ 2013,
- Ipswich Waterfront Transport Study 2007,
- 2011 Census ONS,
- State of Ipswich Annual Monitoring Reports,
- Authority Monitoring Report 8 2011/2012,
- Ipswich Strategic Flood Risk Assessment 2011 (SFRA),
- Ipswich Wildlife Audit Update 2012, and
- Draft Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment for Ipswich, Babergh, Mid Suffolk, Suffolk Coastal and Waveney, in partnership with Suffolk County Council, 2013.
2.10 These documents and others may be found on the Council’s website www.ipswich.gov.uk within the Planning Policy ‘Documents and Publications’ section or in the Core Document Library.
2.11 The key strategic challenges for Ipswich are identified in the focused review Core Strategy paragraph 5.31. Some of the more detailed issues emerging from the evidence, which this plan needs to address, are as follows:
- allocating sufficient land to meet objectively assessed housing need in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework;
- allocating enough good quality land to attract and retain jobs within the Borough;
- allocating suitable and available sites for future town centre development to attract new investment in the centre without over stretching it;
- planning for a sharp rise in the number of primary school age children;
- tackling deprivation in the worst affected wards;
- supporting the completion of regeneration projects at the Waterfront;
- enhancing pedestrian and cycle connections across and around the town, particularly between the Waterfront and town centre; and
- ensuring that demands placed on new development do not render it non-viable.
3 NPPF 2012 paragraph 182: Consistent with national policy – the plan should enable the delivery of sustainable development in accordance with the policies in the Framework. 4 Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, Part 2 Section 13.