In February 2016 Ipswich Borough Council decided to redevelop the Crown Street car park to provide 400-500 spaces on two decks with an additional 100 spaces on the surface. The cost at just over £5million would be met by “prudential borrowing”. Underground was rejected as much too expensive. The Society surveys of car park pricing in the region (by Tim Leggett - see the last Newsletter, Issue 202) show that the cost of parking in an Ipswich Borough car park is amongst the lowest in the region, a story that has received substantial positive press coverage.
Nevertheless, it is true that some of our car parks around the Waterfront are in a poor state and some way from the shopping areas. The one expensive car park is run by NCP at Tower Ramparts (£3.50 per hour). The new Crown Street multi-storey will address all three points. Meanwhile, there is to be a survey of car parking resources, pricing and policies.
Whilst on this popular, contentious and boring subject, the new owners of the Civic Centre site have moved swiftly to open it as a 520 space car park (including the existing spiral car park). It will be swiftly followed by an Ipswich Borough Council car park on the old Police Station site with 53 spaces.
IBC will enlarge its South Street car park from 43 to 60 spaces with a cycle shelter and landscaping. Using the plots of three dwellings in Norwich Road will improve the derelict area but some of us feel it would have been better to have three units either as retail or dwellings; but there is huge pressure to get the casual parkers off Norwich Road.
The former Woolworths store did not sell at auction at the end of February (guide price £4,250,000, current annual rent £250,000 until 2023). I can find no other substantial property for sale at auction or otherwise. Thus Archant press headlines from the past of exciting times in the ‘Mint Quarter' (Cox Lane/Tacket Street car parks) have once again proved to be a false dawn.
The Cliff Brewery has been granted permission to proceed but, whilst the developers, Cliff Quay Developments and Pigeon remain active, there is some way to go in bringing the scheme to fruition. The Directors all seem confident at the moment.
Permission has been granted for new buildings for the Jaguar/Land Rover and Audi dealerships at Futura Park so you'll be able to do your weekly shop at Waitrose whilst your Discovery is being serviced. However, the surrounding traffic situation will get worse despite minor facelifts to the nearby roundabouts. Don't say we didn't tell you when we objected to the original development but the, then, the Highways Agency said, “Oh no, it won't”.
46 Anglesea Road, the former Spiritualist Church, in a large Suffolk brick Victorian house, reputedly visited by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, has been sold to a developer; he's nearly finished a smart, modern house in the garden with access to Paget Road and is dividing the original house into two large semis after extensions. I remain doubtful about using the bottom of gardens for infill; many people buying large houses will only buy if the original large garden remains. The design appears to be quite good but it is very difficult to judge the final aesthetic effect until it has settled in for a little while.
On St Margaret's Green, the former Kwik-Fit exhaust centre was demolished and a planning application for a car wash refused, but won after an appeal. The Planning Inspector insisted on a wooden fence to screen the site. In late 2014, the owner made an outline application to build a 50 bedroom, 3-4 storey care home which was also refused because it would not enhance the Central Conservation Area and would adversely affect the setting of the Grade 1 St Margaret's Church. The Planning Inspector rejected the appeal on all grounds except highway which he felt could be dealt with by conditions. Furthermore, many are extremely concerned about the air quality particularly NOx*, at this site if such a tall building is erected producing a canyon effect.
The Society has set up a small working party to consider its position on the Vision for Ipswich document and will report very soon. [*nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide]