Old County Hall, St Helens Street. It is a shame it’s taken from 2005, when SCC left, until now for a comprehensive scheme to redevelop the grade 2 listed , partly C18 and partly C19 building, for its only possible use, residential. The listed portion will have ten 1, 2, and 3-bed apartments. A red brick new-build in modern style will contain 30 1 and  2-bed apartments. One of the former court rooms will be retained as a heritage area and the other converted into an inserted 2-bed apartment. John Norman endorsed the Society’s enthusiasm for its restoration and support for its conversion to town centre residential accommodation. But we do object that the former Council Chamber with protected fireplace, a very large arched window and an exposed hammer beam roof would be spoilt by the insertion of the cabin style pod. This would sit clear of the panelled walls (i.e. surrounded by corridor). The roof of this pod would become the lounge of the apartment, connected to the existing ‘public gallery’ by a new ‘bridge’, the rooms inside the pod being bedrooms and other living accommodation. He was also concerned about the proposed fenestration on the St Helens Street facade; they would be asymmetrical and provide inadequate light to the apartments. Nevertheless, the plans have been approved.

The part of the Waterfront nearest Stoke Bridge, the St Peters warehouse and the old Burton Son & Sanders building are owned by Ipswich Borough Council (IBC). The quay in front has been completely renovated and permission to convert the old Burton Son & Sanders brick built warehouse to a rehearsal space for Gecko, a ‘physical theatre’ without a home has been granted. To raise the funds for the conversion, the local EDRM Architects have designed a scheme for the whole site; the concrete framed building (including link section) adjacent will increase by 3 storeys, to provide retail and a cafe/restaurant/takeaway at ground floor and basement level, offices on the first and second floors and for up to 14 self-contained flats with a roof terrace amenity area and ancillary plant at 3rd to 7th Floors. This sensitive scheme will provide, with the Jerwood Regional Dance House, a very welcome creative hub on this part of the waterfront. 

No. 4 College Street. The IBC-owned 16th century merchant’s house, Listed Grade 2, will be completely renovated and fitted out for office use thus removing it from Historic England’s Buildings-At-Risk register. The remainder of the site is currently being master planned; the future for this prominent site, an eyesore for decades – where the Saxons built the nascent Ipswich 1,200 years ago – at last looks encouraging.

28-50 Grimwade Street. IBC own the short parade of 1930s shops with flats above. They have demonstrated that it is cheaper to demolish and replace them with two four-storey blocks of two flats per floor, making 16 in total. The blocks are at right angles to Grimwade Street to provide social interaction, views and transparency in an effort to design out antisocial behaviour. The ground floors will be wheelchair user compatible. The architects are Hoopers and all the consultants are Ipswich based.

14 Emmanuel Close: Old St Johns Ambulance Station, Coltsfoot Road; 10-12 Halton Crescent; 70-84 Sheldrake Drive; Garages behind 32-40 Mallard Way.

These five applications by Handford Homes, for IBC, will provide 16 dwellings with 30 bedrooms for affordable rent with appropriate amenity space and parking. This is ‘unused portions of land’ or brownfield sites owned by the Borough.

Telecomms Screens. J.C. Decaux’s application to erect seven ‘advertising’ screens in the town centre was originally thought  to be impossible to oppose. However, the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 – known as the GPDO – Part 16 has been amended to remove the permitted development rights for public call boxes. So, on appeal, the one in the centre of the Old Cattle Market and the two in Carr Street will be allowed but the appeals for those outside the Great White Horse, the Ipswich Building Society (Parr’s Bank), outside Sainsbury’s in Upper Brook Street and opposite Revolution, Old Cattle Market were dismissed, because they would harm the setting of Listed buildings in the central Conservation Area.

75 Valley Road. An outline application to build four dwellings on backland behind 69-75 Valley Road with access from Cotswold Avenue has already generated local resistance. In 2012, an application to build one house was refused and the appeal dismissed. Once more, the Society plus 30 residents have objected to this proposal. The access is inadequate, it would mean the loss of many trees – some of great significance – it divides Green Corridor ‘B’ which connects Christchurch Park via Dales Local Nature Reserve* to open countryside. The land is Suffolk Sandlands in character and it would impinge on the privacy of several houses. 

Park View Dental Practice, 49 Fonnereau Road. Permission was granted to fell the 120+ year old beech tree. No reasons given and no conditions as to replanting except that applicant said he was happy to plant on advice. However, we know that the IBC Arboricultural Officer’s advice was that the tree was dying. There were six objectors plus The Society.

57 Henley Road. The first application, to fell a prime red cedar, was refused; the second, to widen the entrance, is regarded as unnecessary by The Society. If granted, it should require a major rebuild of the wall to restore the symmetry of the brickwork panels facing Henley Road.

Mike Cook  

[*see page 8]