Ravenswood areas U,V and W. The original concept for this estate of 1,200 houses was one of integration: a mix of owner occupier and social housing such that the casual visitor would not know the difference. It is generally agreed that this has worked well but the latest phase, 94 dwellings by Ipswich Borough Council, will all be paid for by the Homes and Communities Agency. The layout is reasonable and the architecture, by a Colchester firm, is contemporary and crisp. They will be well insulated low-energy houses.
However, this change in policy has upset existing residents and, quite reasonably, dozens objected. Following the granting of planning permission the scheme has been 'called in' by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
Former Mann Egerton's (Landspeed) Garage, 96 Princes St + part of car park. Ipswich Borough Council, as owners, propose demolition of the garage and, using part of car park to build a modern five storey office block, the architects (Cornish) have designed an unassuming building to go around the corner into Friars Bridge Street. It could be occupied by one or up to ten firms. IBC see this as economic promotion which The Society supports but they have missed the opportunity of commissioning either a local firm who might well have pulled out all the stops and designed a landmark, or a star - which would have cost them more, or having an RIBA competition. Instead they have a medium-sized London firm which has designed a large number of decent modern idiom buildings but in our view has failed to deliver a fine design.
St Margaret's Green/St Margaret's Plain (former Kwik Fit). Architects KKM of North London have submitted a quite ordinary design for a residential care home on this important town centre corner site. The vehicle entrance would be on St Margaret's Green with five parking places and the pedestrian access from Crown Street. Planned are four storeys with lounge and day room on the ground floor. It is, in the Society's opinion, wrong on a number of counts.
Babergh: Belstead House. Conversion of the listed house and the erection of 115 new dwellings (plus a 65 bed care home) in the grounds. Current use: dog-walking with a little cattle grazing. The core is a 17th century farmhouse with original beams and plasterwork; additions, since the 1930s, include the restaurant and residential accommodation. There is some opposition on loss of green space and potential increase in traffic.
Babergh: Poplar Lane. Land between A14 (west side), A1214 (south side) and A1071 Hadleigh Road. Taylor Wimpey have aspirations to build 355 houses on the 55 hectare triangle of land at the back of the Holiday Inn, London Road. Currently the land is agricultural (including seed suppliers Thompson & Morgan) but is allocated on the Babergh District Plan as mixed use including employment (6.5 hectares), a nursery, a primary school, roads and Sustainable drainage systems ponds and a substantial number of houses, some affordable.
Incidentally, we are keeping our eye on Regatta Quay (the 'Wine Rack'), where the developer has applied for planning permission for the extra (13th) floor which appeared in 2007; additionally they applied to avoid paying 'Section 106' contributions which they claim would make the scheme unviable.