A proposal to build a new nursing home on the Victoria Nurseries site on Westerfield Road in Ipswich was withdrawn due to widespread opposition.

This means that Ian May’s popular garden center should stay open for the rest of the year while the proposal’s developers ponder their next move.

The application for the 73-bed house was officially submitted to Ipswich City Council shortly before Christmas following an online public consultation process in the fall.

A CGI of the proposed house on Kettlebaston Way.
– Credit: Ipswich Council

This raised concerns among neighbors about the size of the building and its impact on the surrounding homes.

There has also been opposition from the Motorway Division of Suffolk County Council over concerns about access to the site from Kettlebaston Way on Westerfield Road.

They were also concerned about the small number of parking spaces – 25 – proposed for such a large nursing home in an area with very limited public transport.

The motion was withdrawn this month after developers were told that the planners were likely to urge city councils to reject the plans.

However, Mr May said he expected an amended application to be made in the future.

Ian May at Victoria Nurseries

Ian May should still be selling Christmas trees at the end of this year.
– Credit: Archant

He said, “I’m going to try and get another year of planning permission to stay here until Christmas. Lots of people have said how much they appreciate what we were able to offer them during the lockdown.”

Inga Lockington councilor said many residents were relieved that the motion was withdrawn.

She said: “Nobody contradicts the principle of a nursing home – I think everyone knows that at some point we might need one ourselves.

“But it’s the size of the building on a not very large site that worried people.

“And there isn’t nearly enough parking space there. How do the developers think, will employees get there at any time of the day or night when there are so few buses?”

“I hope they are looking for another place that is better suited to what they are trying to build. I think people understand that nursing homes have to be big enough to provide all the services they need.”

In its application form, First Care Homes developers said, “The design proposal is designed to maximize the benefits of the location while reducing the impact of the neighboring properties and the surrounding context.”