RE-VITALISE THE EASTERN END OF THE TOWN CENTRE
From Dave Morgan
My latest missive to you is prompted by apparently conflicting reports in the Evening Star that, on the one hand, Ipswich is out-performing Norwich in terms of visitors and retail sales whereas, on the other, there is a continuing failure on the part of the potential developers to get the much needed Mint Quarter under way. It doesn't add up!
The forthcoming re-location of most County Council staff from County Hall to Russell Road will add, certainly in the short term, to the deterioration in this area of town, although I suppose the residential developments on both sides of the start of Woodbridge Road will redress the balance to some extent and, hopefully, the development of a university in the immediate area will materialise?
However, in the short to medium term, unless something is done The Wash (Upper Orwell Street etc) will just get worse and the ghastly edifice that is the Odeon together with the rundown Regent just add to what I do hope is just a temporary gloom to this area of town. The situation is now made worse by the news that at the other end of town the Civic Centre campus may become a Waitrose supermarket - God preserve us!
All this prompts me, Mr Editor, to repeat my earlier complaint that, if the Borough Council wishes to maintain this dubious advantage over Norwich, it must concentrate on the revitalisation of the eastern end of the town centre and firmly put the pressure on whoever NCP and Helical really are. The delay on the Cox Lane site is nothing short of criminal and indeed I suspect that is where most of us would like to see Waitrose go - and give us the parent, John Lewis, as well! I implore the Society's senior officers to seek to re-direct the Borough Council's concentration just a wee bit from the Waterfront and the Civic Centre sites.
CAR HARDSTANDING SPACES
From Stuart Waller
I was somewhat surprised at your notes under Recent Planning Matters (January Newsletter) re 25 Tuddenham Road. Perhaps the Society could comment on what principle they are talking about when the Society believes that permission should not be granted for construction of car hardstanding and retaining walls as a matter of "principle".
To try to reduce the number of cars in the town centre by refusing permission is very very unlikely to have the desired effect -just more likely that another vehicle will be parked in surrounding roads. Surely it cannot be a policy to reduce the number of cars in the town centre by refusing extra car parking spaces. Planning permission is not required in the vast majority of cases and the Council has been busy building them for their own houses. Why should houses in Conservation Areas not have car standing spaces?
To have no parking for visitors would be quite a problem in Tuddenham Road as it has yellow lines for all that part of the road. Most of the large houses in that area have more than one car parking space. We must not lose sight of the fact that old houses are needed for modern living.
CAR HARDSTANDING : A REPLY TO THE LETTER ABOVE
From Mike Cook, Planning Monitor Co-ordinator, The Ipswich Society
I must apologise for my poor phrasing: the principle at stake is not the provision of parking around houses in general. 25 Tuddenham Road is a fine Victorian Locally Listed house with "Suffolk white brick front wall with red brick and corded decoration" and "Gate piers with stone capping". The owners cannot expect that they will automatically be allowed to carry out alterations to accommodate off-road car parking. The Society's view, which was discussed at an Executive Committee meeting, was confirmed after two meetings of the Conservation Panel and refusal by the Ipswich Borough Council Development Control Committee. This entails the two different proposals being considered by about forty people, some experts, some amateurs, and some elected. At the end of the day the wrong decision may have been reached for the wrong principles by the wrong people, but no one could say that it had not been inspected, considered and discussed enough. I think the correct view was taken. The principle is: the motor car or the environment.