Here are some of our responses to planning applications submitted to the Borough Council.
Erection of side extension at 50 Westerfield Road
"The Society feels that this application should be refused on the following grounds: It is surrounded on three sides by the Christchurch Park conservation area and whilst only partly visible from the road it impacts adversely on Nos 52,48 and 46. It should therefore at least be referred to the Conservation Panel. The design of this huge expansion is unsatisfactory and does not add to the conservation area. The mass of the extension is so big as to affect the outlook from the gardens of No 52 and more severely 48 as well as 46. Because of the slope of the land this can only be appreciated by a site visit..." [Application approved by IBC]
Salthouse Harbour Hotel
"The Executive Committee of the Society are extremely concerned that a major change has taken place to the application since it was granted planning permission. We are enquiring whether these changes should have been advertised and bodies such as ourselves consulted.
"In the original consent condition, large scale plans of the access to and from Fore Street are required and the condition allows access to all vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes. We construed this to mean that access from Fore Street for cars and vans would be the normal route. We inspected the plans and listened to the presentation at Conservation Panel and felt assured that the only access to the hotel from the quay would be by pedestrians.
"A new application for signage indicates that this is not the case and that all vehicles will reach the hotel access solely from the quayside. This is entirely contrary to the desires of many in the community who had hoped that eventually the northern quays would have very little in the way of vehicle movements. We look forward to hearing your views on this important change in attitude."
80A Fore Street (Isaac Lord's): to convert former warehouse buildings into restaurant, three shop units and meeting rooms
"This is perhaps Ipswich's most important original medieval building and thus all alterations must be very carefully considered. It is thought that this will be the first time in 600 years that it will not be used for warehousing or storage purposes. We feel the applicant is right to seek change of use to a restaurant as this appears to be the only profitable business use it could be put to.
"However in doing this it is clearly paramount to preserve the external fabric and appearance. In the attempt to do so, the internal arrangements of the dining area have lost all the great feel of a long warehouse which would have retained the sense of the original. In addition the plan provides very few diners with a view of the Wet Dock which is surely an important aspect of eating out in that location. The application was discussed at length by the Executive Committee of the Society and it felt that the architect should be asked to reconsider the whole internal arrangement.
"One further smaller point we felt inappropriate were the sloping sides to the decorative balcony outside the first floor centre window facing Wherry Quay; indeed, it's a very simple facade and would probably be best left unadorned altogether." [Still under consideration by IBC]
8 Bolton Lane: demolition of commercial building and erection of 4 houses and parking
"It is such a shame to waste a nice site with such a poor design. The developers must be asked to come up with a decent architectural solution in a conservation area." [IBC refused application]
The Factory, Star Lane: use of existing car park (serving adjacent retail warehouse) as long stay public car park
"If we are to reduce car traffic in central Ipswich then we can't permit conversion of a private car park to a public or contract one. At most a one year permission should be granted so that the owner will be stimulated to find a proper use for his land."
Land adjacent British Telecom, Handford Road: erection of 76 dwellings in two-four storey buildings...
"There are three items we would like to raise concerning this development.
- Change of use from light industrial to residential will mean there is even less employment in the centre of town. On the other hand houses and flats would be located within walking and cycling distance of the centre. Further, a brownfield site development is always desirable.
- 76 habitations will undoubtedly produce more traffic in Handford Road which is already saturated. Perhaps this is too many for the site. Another set of traffic lights must be avoided.
- Once again, the design of the houses is mass produced. Surely a developer as large as this could produce better stuff. They also appear to overlook the houses on the east side of Cullingham Road. An overall improvement would be to reduce these blocks by one storey which would lower the site density and reduce their impact on nearby residences."
The following letter was addressed to the Chief Executive of Ipswich Hospital concerning the New block for Critical Care Medicine and Day Care:
"We are concerned that the Trust should be able to apply some aesthetic consideration to the finished building At least you no longer have the Regional Health Board dictating what you build. We would like to suggest that you consider consulting the Medical Architecture Research Unit at the South Bank University who take a special interest in the relationship between form and function, i.e. it must work for all users but it must took good."
Light pollution of the night sky
The Council for the Preservation of Rural England is extremely concerned about light pollution. The Society's Executive discussed the problem, as seen for instance in the huge light spill from supermarket car parks all night. Security is important but ! It seems that improvements can be made by merely pointing the lights downwards. We would like to know if there are any members who are experts in this field as the Society badly needs good advice. Please contact Mike Cook, our planning co-ordinator if you can help: tel 251498.
IBC's decisions on applications referred to in our previous Newsletter:
Extra 38 berths at Ipswich Haven Marina - approved
66 flats at 15 Christchurch Street (former Jaeger factory) - approved
Rear extension etc at Carlton Hotel, Berners Street - approved
Conversion of Marlborough Hotel and new houses - approved
Rear conservatory and external alterations at 27-29 Fore Street - refused.