Mersea Homes have made an application, as yet Outline only, for use of "Land south of railway line, Westerfield Road". This is for a mixed development of up to 1,085 dwellings, a neighbourhood centre including commercial, community and health care uses, a primary school, strategic landscaping, open space and related infrastructure including two vehicular accesses from Westerfield Road. This will be somewhat delayed until the Ipswich School application is determined. Our views are contained in our letters on the School's application. (See the July Newsletter pages 8-9.)
Ipswich School's planning applications. The Society's position remains unchanged. There is huge opposition to any development on the playing fields site. There is some opposition to the Tuddenham Road sports facility. We await the Planning Committee's date.
St George's House, 2-32 St Matthew's Street. The Society said, "It is generally agreed that this 1960s wholesale redevelopment produced one of the poorest and least aesthetically pleasing entrances to the town. It is only redeemed by the fine view up Berners Street to the former Anglesea Road hospital. The town now has a chance to redeem these errors. There have been several proposals for this site. The current plans for ground floor retail units, a 125-bed budget hotel and a care home represent a reasonable use of the site.
"However, the actual plans presented are not appropriate for the site which overlooks the Central Conservation Area. At five storeys plus a plant level it will be a big building placed in an area which is still built to an essentially domestic residential scale. Not only is it too high but its facade is too monolithic which adds to its incongruity in St Matthew's St. Further, the handling of the care home and its relationship to the Listed Grosvenor Hotel and Berners Street is quite out of scale. The juxtaposition of six storey modern and four storey Late Georgian is unsatisfactory. We feel strongly that the current proposals should be refused. We really must be firm and not allow history to repeat itself with another over-development for the sake of progress."
IBC Planning Committee subsequently rejected the application because a) it is too high and overbears the bottom of Berners Street b) it's an unsuitable place for very sheltered housing and c) service egress from St George's Street into St Matthew's Street is a wrong concept.
Flood Defences. There are two separate applications. The current one is for bunds about l.4m above the present height on both banks from the new barrier in the New Cut. The East runs across to the lock and from the other side to the entrance to the docks. Where it crosses the dock entrance road the road will be raised for a length of l00m. On the West side it will run south to the west dock. Here it will incorporate a right of way. It will be faced by brick or blocks and be grass covered. There will be a safety railing. The second application, probably in the New Year, is for the barrier itself. The Society has been consulted; I have read the lengthy documents. The Society has no objections - rather it welcomes this huge investment of, probably, over Â£50m which will protect the town's historic centre including, it is said, 600 Listed structures. [IBC has approved it.]
[Editor: our lecturer on 13 January will explain all the details; it should be very interesting.]
Broomhill Pool. Council officers are acutely conscious of the dangers of unauthorised entry and the remote risk of drowning. They have replaced the totally ineffective boundary fence with a 1.9m palisade fence. They further propose to build an aluminium scaffold frame within the pool and cover it with curved corrugated iron sheets bolted with shear bolts at close intervals. The pool will remain full of water for structural support; it will be protected from the scaffolding by appropriate packing. The diving boards will be dismantled and stored. This has the approval of the Twentieth Century Society, English Heritage, the Broomhill Trust and the Council. Permission from the Government Office for the East is awaited.
Regatta Quay (Paul's Maltings) The apartments already built are not selling well so the developers have applied to replace some of them with an 88-bed hotel. Furthermore they are bringing the off-site affordable housing on-site. This means the hotel rooms largely replace for-sale apartments, and the affordable housing is down by three units. The design has been somewhat changed following comments from the Conservation Advisory Panel and discussions with the Urban Design Team. It has been granted permission with conditions.
Tesco, Grafton Way. It is possible that Tesco is considering its position and may revise the application (discussed in the previous Newsletter). Tesco is in this for a long war!
The Spinney, 108 Westerfield Road. A Building Preservation Order was nailed to the fence in early June. This gives six months for a Listing decision to be made. We know that the Twentieth Century Society has strongly supported Listing; we await English Heritage's view. A support letter has been written by the Society.
Corn Exchange. The new application for a simple slightly sloping 20mm glass canopy is the least bad solution if we must have one.
Morland Road allotments. Proposal for nine affordable bungalows for the elderly. There were no objections raised. The allotments were largely unused.
Local Development Framework and the Local Plan. [Important public meetings will have been held after this Newsletter went to press - Editor]' In October a lot of time will have to be put into the Council's final consultation document by The Ipswich Society. More later.
Planning regulations. There will be an easing of the necessity for planning applications for minor alterations and extensions. It will be accompanied by changes in publication of applications.