Multi-storey car park Portman Road. This important outline application for a 7 level, 750 space park with admin building, UK Power Networks ring main building, a new public square with hard and soft landscaping including tree planting is an expression of IBC’s wish to make the Princes Street corridor the business and economic hub of the Town centre rather than on the periphery. Therefore it will be essential to provide adequate, modern, convenient parking for business. This would be the driver to the reignition of commercial life in the town centre. It is unfortunate that the Coronavirus may have changed the way office life is conducted in the future. This is an outline application so design details are not revealed and indeed the whole project may have to be rethought. The Design and Access Statement is worth reading for the proposals in full, the history of the site and the flood risks (now negligible).

6-10 Cox Lane & 36-46 Carr Street. Joe Fogel wishes to convert the original Coop shop, later Brighthouse (now in administration) into two retail units on the Carr Street frontage and insert two one bedroom flats at the rear. They just reach minimum size but have small windows at the rear onto the courtyard. The retail units on the corner and in Cox Lane will be retained as will the ex Coop opticians now sold to Armstrong and North. Good to see more living in the centre but what will be their quality? Whether the retail units will be used is questionable.

4 College Street. We are delighted IBC, the owners, have allocated funding to completely restore this listed grade 2, 16th and 17th century, timber-framed building in the medieval core of the town; Nick Jacob’s practice has produced the scheme. Let us hope that the virus does not spend all of the Borough’s money first. The eventual use of the building is not yet decided. 

1 Thornley Drive (off Rushmere Road). The task of commenting on applications is made much more difficult by poor quality and a lack of information. In this instance there is no Design and Access Statement and the proposal merely has a computerised visual of the new main elevation without describing the actual materials or their texture. The proposal is to extend a very large existing bungalow into a six bedroom, three bathroom two storey house. A design which is, I feel, mundane for the 21st century. The layout of the rooms is curious in some ways but presumably is what the client wishes (users of both first floor front bedrooms will need to step into the open gallery/landing to access a bathroom; and the pantry is off the far end of the enormous living room!) but there is no reason why it shouldn’t fit into the locale of Rushmere Road.

40 Tacket Street. The proposal is to add a fourth storey to form a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) of seven bedrooms; the new floor would have a communal living area with dining and cooking facilities. The Society supports the concept of more in-town dwellings, though it is vital that the Borough Officers ensure that all the relevant standards are maintained. However, the online elevation drawing of new frontage to Tacket Street does not show the abutting building to the west, the four storey Suffolk brick building of the former Brand store by Cattermole and Eade (1875). Whilst the host is an undistinguished 1930s three storey infill, its proposed upward extension is without character and relates to neither building. The architects should be asked to do better. This elevational treatment is unacceptable.

2-4 Norwich Road. This is a proposal to convert a two-storey storage annexe to the rear of 2-4 Norwich Road, into a one-bedroom house with a living room, kitchen; also a courtyard with space for one car, two cycles and the bins with a dropped kerb, entrance gates from Barrack Lane. A small extension to the  west is needed. The building is hardly noticed and I’m sure this windfall house so close to the town centre is to be welcomed, designed as it is by Bury St Edmunds architects. No application form is included amongst the online documents.

57 Henley Road. The saga of the entrance continues beyond the applications (the first refused) and the second which has now been superseded by a delivery truck demolishing the wall! Hopefully the Conservation Officers will be able to insist on its rebuilding with original materials albeit somewhat wider and with symmetry in the wall panels.

Former Pumping Station Thurleston Lane. Planning permission has previously been granted for conversion to three houses. This new application proposes to convert it into one four-bedroom house with a grand ground floor living space, a snug and a basement family room. The annexe would be converted into an orangery. A river terrace to the north and terraces to east and west will complete the main building. A new brick double garage will be built at the end of the new drive. The project architect is Chris Dyson, a well regarded London office for such projects. Though theoretically two habitations will be lost it is vital that Ipswich does have a supply of quality modern houses. We very much hope that it does get completed according to these proposals.

The Old Post Office, Cornhill. The building has always been owned by the Corporation/Borough Council; they are now restoring it prior to letting. Originally, there were four stone vase finials. They have been missing since 1950; no trace of drawings or remnants can be found. New ones in bronze and Portland stone will be put in place. Additionally, some of the stone carvings which have weathered away will be restored. It is well worth reading Nick Jacob’s Design and Access statement. The Council should be congratulated onthis proposal.

The Maltings Princes Street. Permission has been granted to build a four storey office building in a very contemporary style on the car park in West End Road. This will be a fine addition to Ipswich Office space.

Bury Road Shopping area. It seems impossible not to grant permission to yet another fast food joint, this time a Burger King.

1 Ellenbrook Green. Environmental Officers found that a rear section of this small supermarket had been converted to living spaces for three residents! Appropriate enforcement action hasbeen taken.

I have watched two Zoom meetings of the Planning and Development Committee; legal but dry. I regret to say that I missed the last one on July 29. At the meeting, permission was granted for the restoration  of The Old Post Office and for the erection of 18 apartments in Upper Orwell Street. This had been refused previously as being too many in too small a building and of a poor design. It returned with a few minor improvements but was still not ‘up to scratch’. However, it was granted despite three strenuous objectors.

The Ipswich Conservation and Urban Design Panel has met by email to comment on several applications.              

Mike Cook 

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