Unintended consequences

You will read elsewhere in this Newsletter [page 14] about ‘Developers’ converting the roof space in terraced houses into bed-sitting rooms (and then the whole house into one of multiple occupancy).  The relaxation of the Planning Regulation was to enable a growing family to extend their home without the hassle of applying for planning permission or the expense of moving house.

It is almost impossible in this day and age to define ‘family’ when it comes to allowing ‘permitted development’ under this Planning Regulation. Hence those who can spot the loophole stretch the regulation beyond its intended purpose.

Another example of unintended consequence is the permitted development or installation of Telephone Call Boxes in the public highway.  Back in 2003 it seemed like a good idea to allow British Telecom (who were, by and large, the only provider of TCBs) to install them where they were needed, again without the hassle of planning permission.

Some time later, in an attempt to make it worthwhile to retain these call boxes, advertising was allowed on the large glass panels (facing out to be read by passing motorists).  The set of three TCBs on Major’s Corner were installed simply to provide an advertising hoarding.

Move forward to the second decade of the 21st century and there are, of course, more companies with the statutory power to install TCBs on the highway.  And, guess what? We have a rash of applications (not for permission – that is taken as read, but simply to inform the local authority that it is happening).


These are not telephone boxes, but simply a free-standing wall with a poster on one side and the telephone and computer screen on the other.  Evidence from other towns suggests that the telephone hardly ever works, but the advertising does!  Frequently the poster is a TV screen displaying rolling advertisements which can be changed to suit the passing pedestrians.  Coffee shops at 8.30 am, retail shopping in the mid-morning and fast food in the late afternoon, particularly when the fast-food outlet is but yards away.

The local authority can, and will, object when the application is in a Conservation Area or close to a listed building, as will the Ipswich Society.


You may by now have read of the changes afoot to the gateway site off Bridge Street: the Stoke Bridge entrance to the Waterfront.  St Peter’s Wharf has been repaved and now it is the turn of the buildings adjacent.  All are owned by the Borough Council and they eagerly await a developer:

i) on the car park – site of the demolished BOCM maltings building with the small cottage-like Benet Aldred merchant’s house at No. 4 College Street;

ii) to demolish the last remaining silo and build something new, perhaps of similar height; these first two could be developed as a single project;

iii)  the former Burton’s factory – a concrete-framed building the other half of which, Cardinal Lofts, received an upward extension ten years ago;

iv)  the former Allied Mills (Cranfield’s) weigh-bridge single storey building which has the problem of asbestos and other builder’s rubbish dumped inside.  This detritus is to be removed and the building brought back into use.

We wish the Borough well with this challenging project.

John Norman