Select Committee on Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Written Evidence

Memorandum by Sue Arnold, Head of Strategic Planning and Regeneration, Ipswich Borough Council (CAB 10)


  Representatives of CABE, including its Chair and Head of Enabling (Sustainable Communities), visited me in Ipswich in 2002 and took considerable interest in the scale and pace of urban regeneration occurring around its Waterfront Area. This development, driven by the housing market, was taking place at densities much higher than anticipated in Ipswich Local Plan First Deposit Draft 2001. It was agreed that the centre of Ipswich, and the Waterfront Area in particular, would benefit from the creation of a master plan and design guidelines following contemporary urban design principles.

  Ipswich Borough Council was committed to piloting the new planning system and CABE used its influence to persuade the East of England Development Agency to help fund the IP-One Area Action Plan. This ground breaking urban renaissance project aimed to facilitate appropriate investment in the mixed-use development of the centre of the town.

  A small Steering Group comprising Councillors and Officers of the County and Borough Councils, EEDA and a CABE Enabler led the IP-One Area Action Plan. The Enabler helped to develop a comprehensive brief for the Area Action Plan, helped the Steering Group to select and appoint appropriate consultants and participated in Steering Group meetings throughout the project. His participation and commitment to the project helped guide it to a successful conclusion with the publication of the document in October 2003.

  The Enabler brought a completely different and valuable dimension into the Steering Group. He had extensive professional expertise, skills and experience but no local connections or allegiances. This allowed him to take a detached view of the project and of the difficulties and dilemmas it presented for local officers and councillors. He was extremely supportive to the Steering Group and committed to achieving a successful outcome.

  The key characteristics of the project were to:

    —  Create a sustainable community with a commercially viable mix of uses which link well both socially and physically with to neighbouring uses and amenities and to other parts of Ipswich.

    —  Provide for a range of tenures, both residential and commercial, to encourage social and economic cohesion and opportunity.

    —  Deliver high quality urban design and architecture.

    —  Ensure strong participation of local stakeholders throughout the process.

  The Area Action Plan was delivered in the autumn of 2003 and has provided the framework for an ever expanding range of regenerative initiatives in Ipswich for which some of the credit should go to CABE in acknowledgement of their support.

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