Cycle Ipswich object to new multi-storey car park in Ipswich

Cycle Ipswich have objected to the proposed car park by Ipswich Borough Council on Portman Road.

Map showing the proposed layout of the new car park.
Plan of the site from the planning documents

The objection sent to Ipswich Borough Council is shown below:

Cycle Ipswich are objecting to the multi storey car off Portman Road, application number 20/00398/OUTI3.


Suffolk County Council are including Portman Road as a North/South route linking the railway station to the north of the town as a quiet cycle route. This is part of the emergency measures due to the current social distancing: and also draws from the routes being proposed by the Policy Development Panel for the LCWIP.

Sir Alf Ramsey Way, Portman Road, and Great Gipping Street are part of National Cycle Route 51. The National Cycle Network is meant to be low motor traffic to enable more people to cycle safely, especially children.

Map showing National Cycle Route 51 passing the planned car park.
Map showing National Cycle Route 51 passing the planned car park.

Considering the above plans, having an entrance to the car park and encouraging more motor vehicle movements along Portman Road should not be allowed, as this will make the road more dangerous for walking and cycling.


The details of the cycle parking don’t appear to be included in the plans, and seem to be an afterthought.


On match days motor vehicle movements around the stadium should be minimised by closing all nearby car parks to all vehicles except coaches, buses, blue badge holders, cyclists, and other small wheeled transport, also running shuttle buses from/to the park and ride sites. This would prevent the grid lock and increased air pollution that happens on the streets near the stadium before and after each match.


Both Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Borough Council have called a climate emergency. How can building a car park and encouraging more people to drive into the town centre align with the climate emergency? How does this proposal help to tackle climate change? It’s also worth noting Ipswich Local Plan (2017) Policy Summary CS1 regarding the need for sustainable development to tackle climate change.


With regard to Ipswich Local Plan (2017) Policy Summary, Policy CS20 around “aims to reduce dependency on the private car by 15%”, how does this planning application contribute to this?


Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council have statutory obligation to have legal levels of air pollution. This will require reducing the number of motor vehicles in Ipswich town centre. The relevant guidance is the Local Air Quality Management Technical Guidance (TG16)


Cycle Ipswich recognises that motor vehicles are required for some journeys, however there is currently too much cheap car parking in Ipswich town centre. This cheap car parking is encouraging more driving, making the roads less safe for people who wish to walk and cycling. It is possible to transport young children and shopping on a bike, where larger items need to be transported car sharing or delivery services (which may be pedal powered on specially built bikes as PedalMe in London have shown) are an option.

Shaun McDonald

Cycle Ipswich

4 replies on “Cycle Ipswich object to new multi-storey car park in Ipswich”

I totally agree with all very important points made by Cycle Ipswich. This application goes against all the environment improvements that need to be made for cleaner air which must be a priority.

Forward looking cities around the world are increasing cycling facilities AND reducing car parking. This outline proposal flies in the face of major international trends and contradicts the move towards improved cycling facilities in the Princes Street area as well as endangering route 51.
As a former IBC Planning portfolio holder, I cannot imagine that the incumbent could support this application.

Welcome to use this as a letter/local article
Just do a calculation, which even as a coarse estimating tool holds firm, and makes it blindingly obvious what causes peak hour gridlock, and traffic chaos on match days, and major events (like January Sales)
Imagine a large car park (or the aggregation of on street parking or similar). It will have 1 or more exit ‘gateways’, beyond which the drivers can disperse & get away by the increasing number of routes. Let’s just focus on say 1000 cars, with all drivers leaving at roughly the same time and each driver takes an optimistic 6 seconds of wait time to get away through the ‘gateway’ which can be the car park exit or the road out from the town centre. The last driver in that queue has a 1 hour 40 minute wait to get away. The 6 seconds test pretty well aligned with the melt-down day at Bluewater one year when around 15,000 drivers all tried to leave when the stores closed, and had perhaps 2 lanes to each of the 4 points of the compass as their ‘gateways’ – it took some people around 3 hours to get out!
By contrast a crowd of 3000 was sucked up by 3 trains moving them out from Harrogate after ‘le Tour’ in 2014 and a well regulated flow of buses is equally effective.
There is already Portman Road A, Portman Road B, Portman Road NCP, and further large car parking capacity towards the Railway Station, all will be pouring out through a very limited exit capacity which cannot be readulu increased – and in terms of the asset wilf represent a massive cost & upheaval for very little use by an operation that make no payment to realistically reflect the transport system overload it causes.
The economic case should be considered for delivery of a free to board, multi door (electric) bus service running through the centre of Ipswich that can be run at a higher frequency on match days, and connecting with park & ride sites, works/out of centre car parks (Tesco Washbrook (with direct access to A12/A14), Derby Road (Co-op & other car parking), & possible other locations). A public bike hire scheme should also be properly costed & set-up, to provide further transport resilience.
Do add up the total number of parking spaces off-street public, workplace & residential private, and on-street, a massive land resource used for the storage of mostly private property which figures show, sits idle for 95% of the time, often on 2 spaces – half the time at ‘home’ and half at ‘work’. A massive waste of land that could be used for other (more profitable) purposes – for the lane required to build 2 flats with parking spaces, a third flat can be built in a car-free development – a far more profitable development for investors
Its not a hair shirt issue either. A town that embraces smarter mobility will see the potential of a 90% reduction in the local private car parc, which in turn means 90% less space required for parking those cars.
A plan to deliver mobiliity credit (say £2000 to underwrite driving credit, bus pass credit, bike hire credit, free railcard for 1-2 years) should be offered for car scrappage, noting that for those living in in the centre of Ipswich, car ownership levels are already low, and this cost is less than the proposed £6000 1-off ‘bung’ to simply replicate the same problem of idle owned cars, which are electric. The longer term ‘win’ is that those who switch will have c.£3000/year additional disposable income without car ownership costs.
Car share also means a faster roll-out for electric cars, 90% fewer charging points to install, 90% fewer cars to park etc

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