The Unitarian Meeting House, Friars Street. The Trustees became concerned about roof leaks, cracking in the external rendering and movement of the galleries. Having consulted historic building experts, Historic England and IBC Conservation Officers, they have instructed KLH architects to carry out surveys and produce a plan for the necessary repairs and renovations that do recur in 330 year-old buildings. (The Unitarian Meeting House was classed as a 'Building at risk' by Historic England; The Ipswich Society disagreed with that.)

 They propose the following:-

1 Remove the existing external cementitious render and re-coating  with a three coat system of chalk/lime putty/hair render on riven chestnut lathing.

2 Remove inserted 20th century steel members and concrete surrounds and undertake structural repairs to the timber frame including new bracing.

3 Insert 100% sheep’s wool insulation into the external wall fabric and roof space. 

4 Remove and replace eight window frames with purpose-built joinery and remove and repair a further four windows, carefully removing and reinstating all lead glazing to both replacements and repairs. Together with removal of deteriorated leaded lights for overhaul and localised in-situ repairs to window frames.

5 Remove existing roof tiles and re-roof with handmade plain clay tiles incorporating a ‘bat safe’ breathable underlay and custom-made clay arris tiles to the hips, including the repair of rainwater gullies.

The surveys are painstaking and make interesting reading. The Trustees are acting responsibly to care for their treasured building; it doesn’t seem to me to be at risk as are others in Ipswich.


County Hall, St Helens Street. As might be expected, the roof has leaked and caused wet and dry rot in the Old Council Chamber and stairs. This application is to remove invasive buddleia and to repair the roof with slates. Inside, panelling will have to be removed and the interior rot, both dry and wet, killed with fungicides. Some wood and panelling will need replacing appropriately and refinishing. The dates of the woodwork are uncertain; some date from late 19th century, others from the 1920s.


1 Regatta Quay. One of the original concepts for The Mill was to use the flood zone ground floor as a Theatre intended for Jo Carrick’s Red Rose Chain. She has moved on to Gippeswyk Hall, so there are now no takers. The owners have now applied for a convenience retail store use; their sequential survey claims that it would not affect any other local store.


82 Berners Street. This early 19th century house has been a GP surgery, consultants’ rooms and now a dental surgery. It is not nationally listed but is in The Society’s Local List of 1984 and mentioned in the survey of the Conservation Area. About two weeks ago, an air conditioning unit was fixed to the first floor street facade, prominent and disfiguring in such a site. There had been no consultation or permission granted. A photograph was taken; the Conservation Officers were contacted who instructed the Enforcement Officer. Last week, technicians removed the offending device. Thanks to David Owens for this success.


57 Henley Road. This large 1880 house on the corner of Henley Road and St Edmunds Road has been bought by a developer; he and his architect have been granted permission to convert the existing four apartments and a Spiritualist Place of Worship to six apartments: one, one-bedded; the remainder, two-bedded. The existing modern garage will be replaced with an appropriate extension for the ground floor apartment. There are additional other improvements. We objected to a separate application to fell the huge red cedar on the front corner of the property as this listed tree is an important landmark and was probably part of the Arboretum planting. This was refused.


Websters Yard, Dock Street. On, possibly, the single most historic site in Ipswich where the Anglo-Saxons first forded the river in about AD650, the Edward Fison maltings building will be demolished with its important signage and replaced by a ten storey modern tower block containing eight small apartments and a four storey executive quadriplex for the developer’s own use. The demolition has come in for criticism; there is no suggestion that the signage will be in anyway commemorated. The blandness and lack of articulation is not without its problems. It has been slightly improved but it is not entirely satisfactory and will be seen from a near 360 degree view. Before work commences, an archaeological site survey must be carried out.  

Mike Cook