Proposed (Tesco) Development at Grafton Way
This response to the planning application has been sent to the Borough Council
The Ipswich Society does not support this application and recommends refusal as submitted.
In the three years since the planning application was debated by the lBC Development Control Committee, much has changed in the retail sector both locally and nationally. In our view there has been sufficient change to constitute a material change of circumstances.
The (lBC) Committee needs to determine this latest application in accordance with the Core Strategies & Policies Development Plan Document adopted in December 2011. It reaffirms that major retail new development should be in the Central Shopping Area. Furthermore, Ipswich town centre has been identified as a regional centre of strategic importance for retail and other town centre purposes. The site of this application is not in the town centre; in fact it is, by the applicants' own admission, some 700m away from the Cornhill and on the wrong side (for pedestrian access) of the inner ring road. The applicant describes the site as being highly accessible, but this is primarily by vehicular traffic.
The Policy Document suggests that through the lP-One Area Action Plan, the Council will extend the Central Shopping Area to include a variety of sites in the town centre - Grafton Way is not one of them!
The addition of a major new Tesco store to the periphery of the town centre is unlikely to enhance Ipswich's role and status as a county town and a regional centre. It will add nothing to the central core, to comparison goods on offer in the High Street or to the number of shoppers from outside the immediate catchment area. Residents from the villages and market towns all have the opportunity to shop at a Tesco store closer to their own homes.
If we turn our attention to the National Planning Policy Framework published in March 2012, it becomes clear that National Policy is about the preservation and enhancement of town centres, their very vitality depending on no further out-of-town centre superstores. If a sequential test is applied, then it is clear that town centre sites are available, so the Grafton Way site should be refused as it is likely to have an impact on the vitality of the town centre.
In detail, there is one major unacceptable change with this application, and that is vehicle traffic on to the pedestrian walkway outside the domestic residences. The Ipswich Society (along with other local organisations) fought a long and hard battle to remove traffic from the Northern Quays, a situation which the County Council is about to implement. To allow more delivery vehicles on to the riverside walk during busy pedestrian times is unacceptable.
This submission puts the private cars and wheelie bins belonging to each of the residential units immediately outside on the walkway. The only vehicle access to the hotel reception is along the walkway; it is likely that taxis will use this route to collect residents and hotel guests. The only decision available to the Planning and Development Committee should be refusal as submitted.