Here are some of the Society's comments on recent planning applications, followed by the Borough Council's decisions on some applications referred to in our previous Newsletters.
NCP Car Park, 11 St George's Street erection of 3-5 storey block of 38 flats with undercroft parking
"This application lacks important detail - like external wall materials! And it included development on land currently occupied by three terraced properties in Bedford Street (although this is not part of the current application!). Basically the elevation to Bedford Street is three-storey Victorian style and the elevation to St George's Street four-storey more modern style with a comer under a square pyramid roof. It contributes nothing to the street scene and is a cheap solution to a small proportion of a major development site - St Matthew's roundabout, Bemers Street, Bedford Street, St George's Street. The Listed building in St George's Street (the former Globe public house) will be over-dominated by this development, there will be duplicated rather than shared vehicle access from St George's Street (behind QS) and the ramp up to roof-top parking will remain as a feature of Bedford Street.
"It is not as bad as some recent proposals (e.g. Christchurch Street) but it is a case for throwing out and starting again, with the message that copying Victorian panache is not necessary. In development terms, this site is crying out for a design brief led proactively by your crood selves (IBC) backed up possibly by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE). We cannot afford to allow this prime site at the entrance to Ipswich town centre to suffer a repeat of the architectural disaster of the 1960s."
Ipswich Hospital Mortuary Extension
" The lost bicycle sheds are not being replaced (at least not in this application). On this site there are notorious parking problems. This facility (the bicycle sheds) has always been well used by many of the staff who work in the pathology laboratory. The Development Committee should make planning permission contingent on the Trust producing plans for not just replacement but more cycle spaces with better security and, ideally, changing facilities. In this way the Trust would go a small step in reducing their parking problems."
25 Tuddenham Road : construction of car hardstanding and retaining walls
"The Society believes that this application to allow a second parking space in the front of a fine house in a Conservation Area should be refused as a matter of principle. The Development Committee must try to reduce the number of cars in the town centre and one of the ways that assists this is not to allow the insertion of extra parking spaces in gardens, particularly in Conservation Areas. This 1883 house by Gibbons is on the Ipswich Society list of important local buildings. The citing mentions the "stone steps" and the "2m Suffolk white brick front wall with red brick and corded decoration. Gate piers with stone capping." Clearly this is a fine midVictorian building and should not be altered." [IBC refused permission on the grounds that "the proposals would result in the loss of the remaining historic landscaped frontage and its replacement with a bland excavated car parking area which would be seriously detrimental to the Conservation Area."]
3 St Aubyn's Road : erection of building incorporating three self-contained flats
"This appears to be a most welcome departure in what is an essentially residential area." [IBC approved with some details specified.]
IBC's decisions on previous applications:
Isaac Lord's: restaurant, shop units and meeting rooms - approved.
Handford Road: erection of 76 dwellings - approved.
Territorial Army Centre, Yarmouth Road: 123 flats - approved, with many conditions including affordable housing.
11-15 Great Colman Street: front faqades to be retained, 22 flats - application approved by 113C, with various demands on architectural details and prior archaeological investigations. The Society considers this a good example, after trial and error, of the planning process working well.
Phones 4U, Westgate Street: replacement shop front - approved.
413-415 Bramford Road: residential development with a density up to 50 dwellings per hectare - the Society is pleased this has been rejected by IBC on the grounds that it would be a piecemeal development in an area which needs comprehensive planning.
Ravenswood: 36 houses, 16 flats, 27 affordable dwellings - approved with requirements about bricks, paving and restrictions on satellite dishes, but not a word on design qualities. The Society finds it remarkable that CABE is unable to find a design champion in Ipswich. (See article below.)