Here are some of the Society's responses to planning applications during December - early March. They were submitted to the Borough Council's Head of Development Control.
Ipswich Haven Marina, Floating Pontoons to create an extra 38 berths:
"ABP have invested heavily in Ipswich and this has brought rich rewards for the town. Visitors and yacht owners use the bars and restaurants, the shops and cafes, making them increasingly viable as the Wet Dock develops - economic activity we support and endorse. The Chairman of The Ipswich Society has, with numerous others, been working towards the establishment of a Waterfront Visitor attraction. Whatever becomes of the consultant's recommendations, the single most important visitor attraction is the water itself. Water is fascinating; it adds value to property, to the ambience of the town and the enjoyment of the people.
"Activity on the water is even more important. There can be a sense of movement as yachts bob in the wind but the real draw is when there is movement with purpose. Visitors will stop and watch when boats float by, when they pass through the lock and particularly when they engage in mock battle.
"The Ipswich Society has campaigned for some time for "mixed use" with developments on the quayside and, as you well know, planning guidance insists that 20% of residential development should be devoted to other uses. We would like to see this principle extended to the water. A truly attractive dock will have a variety of watercraft of all sizes, from canoes and rowing, boats to visiting warships and tall ships.
"Equally, just as the space between buildings is important in built environment terms, so the vista across open water is tremendously important at Ipswich Wet Dock, especially in respect of its setting in the tree-lined valley with distant views of the Orwell Bridge. It should also be remernbered that as well as being able to see moving boats from the quayside it is important to see land and buildings from the boat. The popularity of the Orwell Lady cruises emphasises this point.
"The water can provide a favoured location for celebration and festival.and is an absolutely essential place for visiting vessels and their crew. There is currently space for dragon boat racing occasional raft races and for the sea cadets to practise their rowing. Let's keep it that way. Sequential applications from two marinas are incompatible with this aim and are unsustainable. There must be a limit to such growth."
Erection of 66 retirement flats in three 3/4 storey blocks at 15 Christchurch St (i.e. former Jaeger factory site)
"We are pleased to see that the developers are now using a proper architectural firm and conse- quently there has been a quantum leap in the quality of the design. However this does not mean that the Society is satisfied with this, we think, the fourth application. "The pitch of the roof on the Christchurch Street elevation is very much higher than the existing houses. Could this not be ameliorated so that the disparity is less? The architectural handling of the vehicle entrances is bare and bleak The rhythm of the windows on the Cobbold Street elevation is odd and uninteresting. Surely this could be better done in a building overlooking a Conservation Area. If there were major improvements along the lines suggested it might be acceptable. Meanwhile we feel that the (Planning) Committee should refuse permission."
Erection of 2 storey rear extension and construction of gates, 41-43 Berners St The Carlton Hotel
"The Ipswich Society is continually disappointed by the low grade proposals for extensions to the Carlton Hotel, and this application gives additional concern in terms of 'buildability', durability and access or maintenance. However, given the applications we have previously seen, this one is an improvement. The proposal for the gates is a different matter and as presented unacceptable. There is a lack of detail to the supporting structure and no detail of the overhead fascia which is likely to be an important intrusion into the street scene
Conversion of hotel to I I apartments and 3 houses, erection of three 2-storey houses at rear,73 Henley Road, The Marlborough Hotel
"Though the Society is unhappy at the loss of a useful amenity in north Ipswich, we cannot really oppose the change of use. However, there are two aspects of the developer's proposals we would ask the Committee to take special note of and ask the Officers to be allowed to take the appropriate steps. Firstly, the Henley Road faqade is an important part of the street scene and we are pleased to see that the alterations carried out in the 1960s are to be removed However, it is vital that the detail of the restoration work particularly in regard to windows and doors is carried out to the standards required by the (Council's) Officers.
Secondly, there will be problems of overlooking and reduction of privacy if the three new-build houses in the present car park are constructed as in the application. There needs to be careful consideration of this point with perhaps a reduction in height before the (Planning) Committee ,grants approval."
Reconstruction of railway bridge, Derby Road, by Railtrack
"It does seem strange that the railway authorities can ride roughshod over any local development committee in what they can demolish (if it is not Listed) and replace one of the original Victorian bridges on Colonel Tomlin's railway line. The Society has no major objection, though the design of the replacement does seem to be particularly utilitarian, but then we can have no say in this."
Erection of 3 antennae, 3 microwave dishes and meter cabinet, Park Road Reservoir
"Our enquiries reveal that a continuous fibreglass screen surrounding the aerials on the top of the tower would not impede the signals in any way and would be an acceptable aesthetic solution. There should be no need for any openings therein."
Erection of rear conservatory and external alterations, 27-29 Fore Street
"We would like to ensure that the Development Committee takes full recognition of the advice of the Conservation Officer in maintaining the integrity of a timber framed Grade II building.
A FESTIVAL OF ALL THE ARTS
This summer Ipswich will host Ip-art 2003 - a two week Arts Festival of exhibitions, performances, activities and events. It will be held between 28 June and 13 July 2003, and include all the arts - visual arts, performing arts and music.
The organisers are looking for volunteers to help with the event - as exhibition invigilators and event stewards. If you are interested please contact Jonathan Stephenson, Events Officer, Ipswich Borough Council, tel: (01473) 433155 or Sara Newman, artsroute, tel: (01473) 256868.