Ipswich Garden Suburb – More Suburb Than Garden!

Written by Cllr Ian Fisher

The idea for 3500 homes on the northern edge of Ipswich has been discussed for decades, originally called ‘The Northern Fringe’ the title of ‘Ipswich Garden Suburb’ was settled on a few years ago.

Since the ideas were first spoken of Conservative Councillors, especially those representing North Ipswich wards, have fought hard to ensure the interests of residents living close to the development are given a voice.

There is a proven need for more housing in the area, this is not challenged. I do have concerns that many of the housing need projections that currently set building targets for councils were calculated when we were EU members. Freedom of Movement had a massive effect upon population growth, something that has now ended. There will undoubtedly be a decrease in demand over the coming decades which needs to be considered when granting permission to large developments.

During the past few years, it has become apparent that this development will be taking place. It is a named development within the Ipswich Local Plan, making it an essential part of the additional housing allocated to Ipswich. Outline planning permission was granted in January 2020 for the part of the site designated as Henley Gate, comprising of 1100 homes.

Once this happened our main role as Councillors is to ensure the development is as good as it can be, a development Ipswich can be proud of, one that has inspiration & aspiration at its heart. This will be the biggest development for decades so it is important to set high design standards which will then have to be met by future developments.

And so it was that the first reserved matters applications came before the Planning Committee of IBC in early June. This is where the finer details of the development are decided. These Applications covered phase 1 infrastructure works such as roads, drainage & sewerage and the first 130 homes.

These would be the first homes on the entire 3500 house development so would set the bar for all future housing applications making it vital for the future prosperity of Ipswich.

Rather disappointingly the application lacked in many areas and was premature in coming before the committee. Information was lacking in many of the major infrastructure items such as sewerage & drainage. There were objections from SCC about speed limits & parking with the SCC Floods team also expressing reservations.

The primary road does not meet the minimum size standards of the Chartered Institute for Highways & Transportation and SCC have advised against this.

Amazingly, in a development that has not even been built there is already mention of retro-fitting speed reduction devices on the roads and conducting a traffic survey, once the development is complete, to see about further changes.

The landscaping is underwhelming for what is being marketed as a ‘Garden Suburb’. Too much emphasis is placed on the size of the green open-space, rather than providing any function for the space. There is a distinct lack of anything that would appeal to a family with children, which could, and should, be the beating heart of any community.

Then we have the homes themselves – a combination of five off-the-shelf designs typical to any modern development across the country. A bigger issue with this development is the proposed houses that front Henley Road. The existing houses up to Valley Road have distinct character and contain many differing architectural designs but the proposed houses are once again, bland off-the-shelf designs that could fit any new estate.  

The list of groups criticising or objecting to the housing plans are extensive.

IBC’s own Urban Design team raise concerns about the standard types of housing & its repetitive design. The Ipswich Conservation & Design Panel were particularly scathing in their comments, which included; Design quality & failure to set high enough standard, lack of strong & distinctive architectural character, no sense of place, materials appear to be of the cheapest quality, landscaping not powerful enough for a garden suburb, no equipped play area. The Ipswich Society expressed disappointment stating inadequate quality with a similar mundane design.

New developments will usually divide opinion, but you will be hard-pressed to find many favourable comments which is a major disappointment for our town and not good enough. A council needs to develop good working relationships with developers, both large & small and this is an area where the current Labour administration have failed miserably.

It is the councils’ job to work with these businesses to ensure the best results for Ipswich but too often this is not happening in the effective way it should. Several Labour Councillors on the Planning Committee cannot resist the urge to make derogatory towards property developers, accusing them of profiteering among other things. Whether this is their political opinion or not their priority should be to Ipswich and its future prosperity. Cheap political comments may make those Labour Councillors feel good about themselves but damages the future for the people they are supposed to represent.

Like it or not, the best way to ensure Ipswich gets the housing it needs is to work with the developers, not against them, and this is what Conservative councils across the country are doing every day.

It is about time Ipswich reaped the same benefits.

Cllr Ian Fisher

Conservative Group Leader @ IBC

The hard work starts here – by Cty. Cllr. Nadia Cenci

First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the voters in Chantry for voting for Nathan Wilson and myself in the local elections.

Nathan is one of the youngest, if not the youngest, councillor in the country and I think his youth along with my 15 years’ experience as an Ipswich borough councillor for Stoke Park will ensure the residents, irrespective of their party allegiances, are well served with passion, enthusiasm and authenticity.

From day one, we were thrown into the excellent, professional arena of Endeavour House which houses Suffolk County Council, for our induction, IT equipment and a full agenda of the training.

It was slick and enjoyable and gave much needed support to all new councillors.

Training has been intense with Microsoft Teams delivery by officers of all departments including those which I have a personal passion for – Public Health, Children and Young People and Adult Care. 

I also attended the AGM where I met councillors from all parties and I’ve already spotted the ones that I think are going to, let’s say, be interesting!

Sandy Martin, who vowed he would never stand again during his awful loser’s speech in the GE 2019, had a more humble demeanour but I have no doubt that this will not last. The Greens’ leader seemed a good sort but I already know I will disagree with their policies including backward thinking ideas like halting house building to save the planet. The Libdems – well, they’re the Libdems.

What I do want to see is good co-operation cross party and I have high expectations of this. County always seems more grown up than the Labour run Ipswich Borough because the latter love to play political games.

It will be refreshing to be part of a party in control of a council, rather than in opposition and so I look forward to both my roles in the coming year.

With the bedding-in process underway comes the real hard work and the carrying out of our duties with diligence and organisation. Case work is already coming in and for the moment I am grateful that my day job of running my own business in training and coaching, is flexible.  

So, along with my colleagues, I intend to keep you all informed of work carried out, successes, frustrations, policies and committees, that I hope will encourage others to think of standing.

One of the huge successes of this last Suffolk County election (best results since 1977) is that the Conservative group now have double the amount of women than before, totalling 20 out of the 55 Conservative councillors.

We would like to add to that, including more young people, by welcoming new candidates into the Ipswich family – so watch this space for further information.

Tom on pharmacies

On 25th May, I asked a question to Nadhim Zahawi, the Minister for Covid Vaccine Deployment. I raised the fact that in Suffolk and north-east Essex, 97% of the over-80s have now had two jabs, which I think puts it at the top of the league table. I’m sure that as a 32-year-old, my jab will be coming soon as well.
I wanted to thank BSC Multicultural Services, which has worked incredibly hard with hard-to-reach groups to get the vaccine out, and I also wanted to give special mention to community pharmacies as well.
It seems like a long time since Aqua Pharmacy on Duke Street approached me, but it has gone on to deliver 15,000 doses. I sometimes feel that community pharmacies don’t always get the attention they deserve and wanted to get assurances from the Minister that in the NHS White Paper community pharmacies will be at the heart of what we are doing to recover from the pandemic.
I was very glad that he could give me reassurance and that he stressed how community pharmacies are an incredibly important part of our deployment infrastructure.

Plus ca change

During the 1990s, Super Blue wrote the following to the local press:

  • “… Too many children grow up unable to communicate in whole sentences and we all know what happens to them. They go on to become deputy leader of the Labour party.”
  • ” (John Prescott is) … Her Majesty’s Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport, the regions and Outrageously Long Titles.”

Is history trying to repeat itself?

Legislation on the way

The pace won’t slacken.

After passing these acts last month, further bills were announced in the Queen’s Speech. Among them, as you can see, they will tackle several long standing animal issues, building on those previously proposed.

Other proposals will build on our vaccination programme to date, regulatory reform and transport connectivity, between and within our regions, Freeports, practical environmental measures, the constitution, defence and trade. So far, the UK population has vaccinated as much of our population twice against COVID-19 as the EU has vaccinated once.

Girl power?

I’m not a raving feminist, never have been because I have always believed, as Mrs Thatcher did, that women must show, not tell their strengths and talents.

Stop the talking and the victimhood and do the doing. It’s there for any woman.

The local elections have been a resounding success for Ipswich Conservatives but you would have to look at the small print in our local paper to even see remotely what actually happened.

Suffolk County Council have not just gained some extra representatives for Ipswich as Conservative county councillors, more importantly they include 4 extra females representing Ipswich divisions for the Conservatives.

And boy did each and every one of us deserve our victory because Labour were not just ‘pipped’ (as described in the Ipswich Star) but the swing to us was massive in anyone’s books.

But we cant get there without the support of many others.

There are also now 20 female Conservative councillors from a total of 55 at Suffolk County Council and the results we had are the best since 1977.

As well as the candidates, there were also some brilliant women behind the scenes. 

Let’s start with Amanda Milling – our Conservative Co chair. I met her last year and she told me I had the most important job of all to do this year with so many elections.

My reply ‘Oh, no pressure then!’

But that sentence kept repeating itself in my head in the last 2 months and kept me going. I was never going to let her or the candidates down.

I, as the Deputy chair (political) and so therefore the campaign manager for Ipswich (Ian Fisher campaign manager for NW Ipswich wards), had the strategy and delivery of that plan as my responsibility.

I delegated some of the role to the other deputy chair (membership) Heather Mills who looked after the East side of Ipswich so that I could concentrate on SW Ipswich as I had my own division to win. Also Rosamund Fellowes who is an amazing activist for Liz Harsant, was there every step of the way.

The Chantry seat had always eluded me, often losing by a few votes. Liz Harsant lost Gainsborough by 3 votes last time and both Heather and I were determined that would not happen again.

Yes the national picture helped but I have no doubt that our margins would not have been anywhere near as massive had we not worked so hard and so smartly.

With 2 months notice, we were involved in a strategy that had a stressful timeline each week. We just all came together alongside our other fantastic candidates. I have thanked all of them several times but this post is about the women – just this once – because it is an important development for Ipswich and for the Conservatives here.

I’m so proud of my fellow female team members and that’s not to say the men didn’t do their bit just as much but just for once, having seen the articles in the press, I want to highlight the real big story they missed. And that was Girl Power!

So I thank them and highlight the new county councillors for Suffolk below;

Liz Harsant 

Sam Murray

Debbie Richards

Myself Nadia Cenci

Pippa Gould (newly elected borough councillor)

Thankyou to all who voted for us too. After all we definitely can’t do it without you!

And if any other women (and men!) out there fancy joining our winning teams for future elections then just let me know (Nadia) using contact information on this website.

Take Hart

Jill Mortimer (below) did anyway, such that Hartlepool has Morphed into another Conservative constituency in the region but, nationally, this is just one of a gallery of gains.

In Ipswich, we gained six Borough seats out of eighteen and four County councillors out of thirteen (some for the very first time) and three near misses. None of this would be possible without the support of you, the electorate. Although we very much hope to build on these positive results, we will not take your support for granted. The hard work has only just started.

Thank you, all.

Today’s contests


Ipswich Borough Elections.


Irresponsible financial management by the Labour administration at Ipswich Borough Council has resulted in two emergency budgets that have announced cuts, closures & job losses with the Council shutting all its customer-facing services within the Town Centre.
Sadly, Ipswich charges the highest Council tax of all 188 similar districts in England – a whopping 88% higher than Colchester and 37% higher than Norwich.

Ipswich Conservatives would inject a business-like approach to everything the Council does & work towards making Ipswich a place we can be proud of with services fit for the changes we will all face in the coming years.


Your Labour Council has missed its house-building targets for 8 out of last 9 years.
Thousands of families are on the housing waiting list, some with little hope of being provided a decent & secure home.

Conservatives believe Ipswich residents with 6+ years of a connection to the town should have 1st priority over all social housing. We would do this by introducing a local residency requirement.

The Conservative government encourages Councils to develop housing by paying a New Homes Bonus. Shockingly Ipswich is receiving the 7th lowest Bonus out of all 333 councils in England.

Conservatives will reverse this trend & work closer with developers to meet the housing needs of Ipswich people. This must include aspirational private housing alongside affordable homes for those most in need of somewhere safe & secure to live.


Thanks to the hard work of our two Conservative MPs, Tom Hunt and Dan Poulter, we have secured a £25 million grant from the Towns Fund, the maximum available from the government.
Your Labour council has invested over £50 million of taxpayers money in out-of-town retail, like Peterborough – money that should have been spent in our town, to benefit you.
Ipswich Labour wasted huge sums of money on costs for the overrun of the ‘Cornhenge’ project and the corrective safety measures needed after construction.
Conservatives believe nothing is impossible for our County town and will work with partners to make the most of any funding opportunities and maximise our historic past, as well as deliver modern ambitious projects.

Suffolk County Council – a Conservative record of success


Conservative controlled Suffolk Council has a strong track record of sound financial management. Although the last year has been tough the County Council has been able to draw on some of its reserves built up in previous years to help it through the crisis. These are reserves that Labour wanted to burn through when the sun was shining. Had that policy been followed the County Council would now be bankrupt.


£21 million pounds has been invested in the last four years resurfacing over 25% of the road network throughout the County.
We plan for £10 million to be invested in upgrading and improving 500 miles of footpaths and pavements over the next four years. We will also invest another £10 million tackling flooding on our roads.


The Conservatives plan to promote bio-diversity by planting 200,000 trees incluing healing woods, wildflower verges and roadside nature reserves. We will also turbo charge plans to create over 100 additional EV charging points throughout the County.


The Conservative controlled council is investing £45 million building over 800 new school places for local children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) reducing the chances of children having to travel out of the county for their education.

TIM PASSMORE: Your local Police & Crime Commissioner candidate.

Only a Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner can be trusted to keep our communities and streets safe.. While we are backing our police, Labour voted against measures to get knives off our streets and ensure dangerous criminals spend more time behind bars.

Tim’s Plan
Putting more police officers on the streets of Ipswich – with strong neighbourhood teams to tackle theft, burglaries and vehicle crime.

Working hard with you to keep children safe – with increased resources to safeguard children and families.

Targeting drug gangs and organised crime groups – To protect our children, homes and communities from gangs and substance misuse.

Newly enacted legislation …

Here we go again – Conservatives implementing the people’s priorities. Here is a selection of the legislation that has been completed last week.

In particular, the Domestic Abuse Bill will:
Require councils to support victims and their children.
Create a new offence of violent strangulation.
Widen “revenge porn” to include threats to share images.
Extend the offence of controlling or coercive behaviour.
Create legal protections for victims through the courts.



Freeport for Felixstowe and Harwich – by Tom

The Chancellor announced in his Budget two months ago that our bid for the Port of Felixstowe to be granted Freeport status was successful. This is hugely welcome as something which will boost our local economy and provide further jobs for my constituents.
I have been supporting the Port of Felixstowe in their bid over many months and wrote to the Chancellor in November expressing my support for a Freeport in Suffolk and laying out our case for being included in the scheme.
The Government’s Freeport initiative will play a crucial role in our post-Covid economic recovery by bringing new opportunities for inward investment, economic growth and regeneration. There are areas of deprivation in Ipswich which will benefit hugely by the introduction of the Freeport and this will help us deliver on the levelling up agenda for Ipswich.
I spoke in the House about how the Government’s levelling up agenda should apply to all areas of the country and about the positive impact a Freeport would have for my constituents in Ipswich.
But the new Freeport of Felixstowe will benefit the UK as a whole. Felixstowe is a global port and Britain’s biggest and busiest container port. It has strong global links and strong transport links to the Midlands and the North meaning that this initiative will bring significant economic benefits not just to East Anglia but also to the rest of the country.
I plan over the coming months to explain further the tangible benefits that this new Freeport in Felixstowe will have for our town.
Tim Buttle and 89 others