Planning applications great and small continue to pour into the Borough Council's planning, department. The number of applications to build new flats or to convert existing buildings into flats is especially notable. Society members who have lived in the same houses for many years may find it hard to believe there are so many potential occupiers of all these flats. These development proposals must indicate a continuing demographic change - namely, lots of youngish singles and couples with no wish for a garden or a garage, often with no children but with the freedom to go out for nearby entertainment, and meals or take-aways.
These are some of the recent applications which the Society has commented on - a very interesting range, as you'll probably find as you look through them. In many cases IBC's response was not yet known when this was compiled in early September. We hope to indicate in later Newsletters whether these applications were successful or not.
12-14 Princes Street : conversion of part of first floor and second floor from office use to 6 flats, erection of third floor to provide 2 additional flats
"The Society supports the change of use of the upper floors of this office building to apartments and the addition of an extra floor. However the new entrance from Princes Street is a completely unacceptable design in a Conservation Area..." [IBC granted permission subject to agreement on new entrance canopy on Princes Street, etc.]
2 St Peter's Street (The Sailors' Rest) : conversion of offices into 3 self- contained flats
"The Society having had a major part in the rescue of this fine Grade I Georgian building is well aware that it is only a facade. However it is vital that the developers are seen to keep to their word on the application that these alterations will not affect in any way at all the Listed portion of the building." [Permission granted by IBC with necessary provisos.]
Town Hall forecourt, Cornhill : continued use of land for siting of market stalls
"We have always believed and supported the view that the town needs and can support a market. We believe that Lloyds Avenue, the Cornhill, Giles'Circus and Princes Street should be used in the short term. There are considerable concerns about the surrounding historic core of Ipswich, the unavailability of the only open space in the centre and the intrusion into the exterior space of shops, cafes and businesses. We therefore support a grant of a further limited time to the market but we would like to see the Council continue to investigate other sites such as the Mnt Quarter." [IBC granted further permission until 31 August 2004.]
Rear of 9-11 Waterloo Road, Bramford Lane: erection of 2 semi-detached houses
"The Society is delighted to see another piece of this site being proposed for residential development which is a "windfall" for this area. We feel sure that the Officers will ensure that the bricks chosen are sympathetic to its neighbours' red bricks." [IBC refused permission - unattractive design; insufficient spacing requirements.]
Territorial Army Centre, Yarmouth Road : erection of 123 flats in 4 and 5 storey blocks
"...An earlier application was considered unsuitable for the site. The present proposals appear to be a great improvement and would blend in with the recent riverside developments further up the river. It is also understood that, despite the location, there are no great fears about liability to flooding. However, it appears that access/egress will be to Yarmouth Road - a very busy road, being part of the original inner by-pass and careful planning and road layout will be needed in these days of ever-increasing traffic numbers."
49-53 Fore Street : conversion of offices into dwelling house
"Whilst the Society would support change of use to a dwelling house, we are extremely unhappy about the plans. Further, external inspection would suggest that some alterations have already been made. The application should be refused and the appropriate action taken if it is indeed the case that unauthorised changes have been made to a Grade 11 building." I IBC approved the application subject to work being done strictly in accordance with all drawings and specifications. I
Former Waterside Works, Bath Street : erection of 2-5 storey buildings on raised ground comprising hotel, 223 houses and apartments, plus retail and offices, dry basin, paved area and sculpture
"The latest proposals for the Griffin Wharf site have been inspected by several members of the Executive Committee. We are extremely unhappy with the hotel which is of a most undistinguished chain design ... The majority of the site is devoted to domestic habitation; it is possibly too formal around the water feature and the actual units are of a uniform and forbidding appearance. We feel that this needs reviewing before acceptance. This site is of course of historic manufacturing interest [former Ransomes & Rapier] at the westerly approach to the waterside area and it is important that the Committee insists on an extremely high standard of architecture. That the site whilst designated for employment will be habitations is irresistible in today's economic climate."
NCP car park and land between Woodbridge Road and St Helen's Street, Orchard Street : erection of 25 town houses and 10 flats
"Although there are no specific recommendations for this area in the Draft Local Plan these proposals represent a useful rationalisation of several dilapidated plots for small residential units... but it would appear that in order to achieve a high density the terraces are three or three and a half storeys which would be out of scale with the surrounding Victorian terraces. The full plans will need to be viewed carefully when available but in principle the Society supports this application." [IBC has granted permission for this outline application with conditions such as archaeological work first, a play area, noise impact assessment before occupation, double glazing throughout.
Ravenswood, Nacton Road : erection of (a further) 36 houses, 16 flats (private sector) and 27 affordable dwellings
"It is sad that one of the country's largest house builders has so little confidence in modern design that they propose these sad pastiche houses. The award winning primary school to which many of the future inhabitants of Ravenswood will be accustomed has not been used as a standard to follow. In such a large development surely CABE and its local design champion should be able to enhance these plans. We realise that saleability is vital but in a reasonably buoyant housing market the Development Committee and the Council Officers ought to be able to persuade the developers that Ipswich has a keen interest in good quality architecture in all its buildings. This application should be re-thought before it is granted planning permission."
11-15 Great Colman Street : partial demolition (front facades to be retained) to facilitate development for 22 flats
"We are pleased to see these new proposals which retain the existing Edwardian facades to allow the construction of apartments and car parking"
St Nicholas Church and Churchgate House, Cromwell Square : alterations and extension to vacant church building to convert into use for Diocesan Resource Centre with meeting rooms, bookshop and external works to churchyard
"Whilst the Society supports the change of use to a meeting place on an open plan basis whilst preserving the sanctity of the church, we are disappointed with much of the detailing and the imprecision as to use of the churchyard for car parking..."
Phones 4U, 25 Westgate Street : replacement shop front
"Since the proposal is for a completely new shop front in what is the platinum quarter mile of Ipswich shopping, the Development Committee must insist on the highest standards of design. This does not reach those levels; in particular the shape of the window tops and the dropping of the square box holding the'4 Uinsignia below the lower horizontal line of the fascia are particularly unfortunate. They should be asked to think again."