Housing today and tomorrow
The large blocks of flats on Stoke Quay, built for Genesis, didn't win a Society award but they will provide many welcome dwellings on a valuable site on the Waterfront. It is disturbing, however, that housing associations like Genesis will no longer be funded to build social housing for rent. Furthermore, the Housing and Planning Bill proposes to drop developers' Section 106 obligations to provide a percentage of social housing in each substantial development and instead allow them to build small starter homes for sale.
The final phase of this £21million scheme is finally underway. The thirty metre wide flood barrier across the New Cut will link up with the new embankments on the east and west banks either side of the lock gates. The completed scheme will protect Ipswich Waterfront from flood tides.
Prestige in appearance?
The entrance hall at Ipswich station is rather small and mean for a town of our size. And if you're waiting to greet people off a train there is nowhere to sit. The work currently being carried out increases the size of the ticket hall and provides seats and shops for passengers but no seating for those waiting to meet and greet, in our opinion a disappointing omission.
Pigs in town
Norwich had its dragons: now Ipswich will have its pigs. Forty life-size pig sculptures will be artistically and uniquely painted, and each one sponsored. They will be located around the town centre and Waterfront to create an ‘art trail'. At the end of the project they will be auctioned off. The aim is to raise a substantial sum for St Elizabeth Hospice.
The last building on the right in Princes Street as you approach the station was a Victorian maltings. It has been Hollywood, Kartouche, Zest and The Malthouse in modern times! Now closed for a couple of years, it has been bought by IBC who have aspirations of it becoming an office (e.g. for use by technology companies). Princes Street, running from the town centre to the station, is increasingly becoming the business district of Ipswich.
Museum lottery bid: not so good news
It is disappointing that the ambitious plan for joining up the Museum with the High Street Gallery and former art school, etc. has failed to get Heritage Lottery Fund approval. But we are encouraged that Ipswich Borough Council still intends to improve these great assets, even if more modestly. [The HLF decision might just call into question the redevelopment of the Cornhill. It was the intention of the Borough to create a heritage and cultural route from High Street to the Waterfront (via the Cornhill). We are not sure this works without a northern anchor.]