2-4 Russell Road. The site is the car park of the former gym, next to Staples, opposite the Crown Court. A 100-bed Travelodge hotel is proposed with a café, bar and usual offices on the ground floor and the bedrooms in four stories above.The external appearance is an ordinary concrete frame with coloured panels as part of the cladding. Car Parking is provided under and behind the main building. It's interesting that the hotel trade sees a shortage of beds in central Ipswich. We have no objection.

The Old Post Office, 1 Cornhill. To further the projected use of this fine building as a restaurant, Nicolas Jacob Architects for IBC, the owners, propose to externally floodlight the north and west walls, provide temporary external seating, erect exterior signage, also install protective grilles and ventilation louvres in basement windows. These works will be beneficial to the use of the building as a restaurant and will have an acceptable degree of impact on the listed building. Potential concealment of the Ipswich Coat of Arms mosaic under a floating floor could be avoided by placing a glass panel over it.

33 -54 Upper Orwell Street. A fresh and welcome design by Stan Beanland Architects for nine three-bed terraced houses on the small IBC car park is within the vernacular of the current street scene whilst being modern. This might work out rather well.

Buttermarket Shopping Centre. The north entrance to the centre from Butter Market has been approved. This is close to several buildings of architectural importance and aesthetic sensibility. So it needs to be done more than well. It is an improvement but it’s never going to be listed. We will watch their separate signage applications very carefully as they may be inappropriate for the area.

Ex-RBS Bank, Princes Street. The plan is to convert the first and second floors and add a third floor with a terrace to provide nine apartments. The additional floor will barely be noticeable from the street and is, from the proposed photos, aesthetically satisfactory. The building for The National Provincial Bank was designed by their notable chief architect in the late sixties as a main office in what was planned to be an expanding city. It’s an attractive example of its time, so it’s good news that the alterations have been designed by architects Barefoot and Gillies.

Mobile Phone Masts. See Chairman’s remarks (page 3).

Land, Anglia Parkway, North. The erection of an incredibly mundane building to support an off-site industrial jet-washing operation on a vacant plot will mean trucks and lights 24/7; it is screened by a lot of undistinguished trees and is reasonable in itself, but its operation may disturb the Old Norwich Road Conservation Area and there have been public objections.

17 Tower Street. This fine eighteenth century house now belongs to the Parish of St Mary-Le-Tower. For disabled access and safe use as a ‘song’ school, various – largely internal – changes are proposed some of which were approved in a previous application. There would be few external signs in a building which has had many alterations and additions. It is hoped that the 20th century parquet flooring can be retained.

Former BT Regional HQ and data centre, Handford Road. Ipswich Borough Assets have acquired the site and buildings, and, having demolished the data centre on Handford Road, will replace it with 15 terraced houses and 24 flats with gardens and parking. On the south site, 16 houses and 17 flats with gardens with parking, cycle spaces as well as a shed space in the gardens will be erected on the former car park.  The office building will be converted to mostly one-bed apartments. There will be a sustainable heating system, landscaping and electric car charging points. Even the individual cycle store sheds will have a sedum roof! It seems a meticulously well thought out and satisfactorily designed sustainable new affordable housing scheme for the Borough Council by Stanley Bragg Architects of Colchester. (The data centre – the white building parallel with and visible from Handford Road – was said to be unconvertible to residential and has been demolished.) The external appearance of the office block to apartments is uninspiring and we would hope that there will be some improvements here.

556 Woodbridge Road. The developer’s previous application for conversion with an additional fourth storey and a metallic facade was refused because it was overbearing and not well designed and would have caused loss of amenity and privacy as well as dangerous access to the car park. The new design is a remodelling of the existing building with additional brick slips to the facade.

Henley Gate. These are two reserved matter applications for the land north of the railway and east of Henley Road (ground works have already commenced) by Crest Nicholson, concerning primary streets, local centre open space, sustainable urban drainage, landscaping, access points from Henley Road and bridges over the railway and outline planning permission for up to 1,100 dwellings.

There has been much consultation and there were many local objectors and the Northern Fringe Protection Group posted two pages of bullet points. At the Planning Committee, Brian Samuel spoke eloquently to reiterate  that the highway design and its suitability for cycle use in decades to come and for which there is no funding mechanism. Surface and foul water drainage and the possibility of a pumping station are not adequately dealt with and sufficient details are not in the application.

He also expressed concern about the management plan for the landscaped and other areas, particularly in view of Crest Nicholson’s poor record on the Hayhill allotment site. Councillors’ comments were on similar lines with points about the foul water drainage and possible pumping station, all unmentioned in the application. However, they were granted permission by a majority vote.

Henley Gate. The third application concerned the design of the 1,100 possible dwellings and associated works. The Society, The Conservation and Urban Design Panel, the Suffolk Preservation Society and the Northern Fringe Group responded similarly, commenting on the low design quality of the housing and the layout. The lack of strong and distinctive architectural character fails to meet our expectations of this important new Ipswich Garden Suburb. This theme was strongly stated by Brian Samuel and reiterated by many councillors.  There was considerable discussion of the heating mode; this to be by individual gas boilers for the first 133 houses with seven solar panels in total. Because of the original planning permission granted and the new Building Regulations, Part L – which governs heating systems in new builds – not coming into force until the summer of 2022 it is not possible to prevent the installation of outdated systems in the first tranche.

Several noted that the affordable housing provision was a mere 7%; the meeting was told that independent assessors advised that a higher percentage would render the overall scheme unviable due to the infrastructure being provided: three schools, two bridges over the railway, a district retail centre, much landscaping and a country park larger than Christchurch Park. In due course, permission was granted with one vote against.

N.B. The Planning and Development Committee has resumed public meetings but, in order to maintain social distancing, has moved to the Grand Hall of the Corn Exchange. The logistics were exemplary; sound and vision better than at Russell House.

Former Co-op department store, Carr Street. We support the concept of a new primary school on this site but together with all the other consultees believe it would best built further back towards the car park, allowing the retention of the buildings fronting Carr Street to be retained for future use. Unfortunately the funders, the Department for Education, will not support the retention of buildings unless they are nationally listed – and in this case they are only locally listed. The intention is to incorporate the 1930s signage ‘IPSWICH INDUSTRIAL COOPERATIVE SOCIETY LIMITED’ on the new facade which we feel is out of palace on a school. The stone corner plaque, ‘1908 EACH FOR ALL AND ALL FOR EACH’ would be replicated within the school which seems a good motto for a school.  The fine mosaic on the rear of the Cox Lane passageway is intended to be preserved.  As so many works of art from demolished buildings have been retained then broken or lost, we are requesting that it is a condition of permission that a suitable site for its re-erection is stated.

Mike Cook

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