Duke Street Roundabout
By promising a 15% reduction in traffic flow Suffolk received a Central Government grant towards removing the roundabout and replacing it with traffic lights, making Back Hamlet uni-directional uphill and traffic towards Duke Street turning right via Pownall Road. The neighbourhood is up in arms claiming that consultation has been improperly carried out by the agents. IBC officers and councillors have had to face unpleasant truths at public meetings, but the scheme will go ahead and may produce some improvements at Duke Street. On behalf of the Society I have attended meetings in support and given advice.
Pubs may go (The Blooming Fuchsia replaced by six houses the most recent) but new ones are rare. Francis Walsh, the founder of St Jude's Brewery in Cardigan Street, has been granted permission to convert the former photographic studio at 69 St Matthew's Street into a cask ale pub selling his products direct to the public - a new Brewery Tap in the town centre.
Cooper's Garage, West End Road
An Outline Application has been made to demolish the existing buildings and erect two drive-through stores, a Boots and a Burger King. (This application supersedes the one featured in the July Newsletter.) For flooding reasons, the site is not considered safe for housing. A thorough examination of all the alternative retail sites in the town has been carried out with the result that a Boots here would be open from 7am to midnight daily, except for normal Sunday hours. This would affect Sainsbury's at Hadleigh Road but probably not a lot of other pharmacies. The continuous hours are unique to Ipswich and would be a real service improvement. On the other hand we feel that there are an adequate number of car accessible fast food outlets. (On health grounds alone we object.) IBC will need a full traffic assessment by independent consultants to show that two drive-through outlets would not produce congestion at this over-regulated junction, including London Road and Yarmouth Road - it is said that there are 137 vertical poles and 150 metres of railings!
Great Whip Street
Further to this large application for nearly 400 residential units referred to in the July Newsletter, we are still awaiting a date for the Planning Committee's deliberations. We are unhappy with the elevations; a letter is being written now that the elevations have been revised.
Kennings' Site, Duke Street
A Travelodge Hotel package is planned. It is four-storied with parking behind. The Duke Street façade has striking vertically banded coloured panels. We support this application. [Editor: Travelodge have said, "Duke Street is perceived as a better location than the original site. It benefits from dedicated on-site parking as well as being in an excellent location for access to the many amenities at the Quay and the town centre." They had intended to be part of the Regatta Quay development which has gone into administration.]
Site of the former Thomas Wolsey School, Old Norwich Road
We support the use of this land for housing. The design is no worse than such medium size developments usually are. Twelve affordable units out of 48 is in line with the existing requirement of 25%.
This site is on the road to the Bury Road Park & Ride near Graham's; it is in view of the Old Norwich Road Conservation Area. GB Oils propose to build six oil storage tanks and park eighteen tankers here. Its interest is that this may be the beginning of the removal of flammable products from the Vopak site next to the Cliff Brewery, which might lead to the brewery building being saved in the future.
The Corn Exchange
Finally agreement has been reached on the entrance to the Corn Exchange. Simple Sans Serif stainless letters below the balustrade will announce "THE CORN EXCHANGE". Below between the pillar capitals the temporary green painted plywood will be replaced with stainless steel panels. The left side doors will be electrically operated by a green push knob to help accessibility. There will be no canopy.
36 St Edmund's Road
This is a renewal of an existing permission to build a 5-bedroomed house in the garden of a house overlooking Constitution Hill. Unfortunately, the new design by an architectural technician is too large and uninteresting for a Conservation Area, deviating markedly from the previous Arts and Crafts-driven house.
The Cracked Willow in St Mary-le-Tower Churchyard
For many years the large and attractive willow in the SE part of the Tower churchyard has been splitting branches and the main trunk. Some weeks ago this became much worse; the Borough Arboricultura1 Officer and the Conservation Officer discussed the correct approach. For safety of the public and to the dismay of some members it was dismantled from a cherry-picker unit until, at about six metres from the ground, work had to be stopped because of a huge wasps' nest. When this has been dealt with the remaining trunk will be removed. It will be replaced in the planting season with a smaller tree, possibly a hornbeam. The Arboricultural Officer is seeking suggestions - phone Andy Whalley on 01473 432000.
The Coalition Government has announced many changes that will affect local planning in the future but so far they are largely announcements. Regional government has been disbanded so that Regional Planning Strategies have been dismissed. It's not clear what will replace them - as is the suspension of Local Development Frameworks. The process in Ipswich is suspended and the planning Inspector will return when she knows what she has to do. Likewise the Major Infrastructure Planning Board has disappeared, though most believe it will return in a slightly different disguise. The much touted abolition of 'Garden Grabs' will have to await the Bill. Most worryingly the dreaded 25% slash to council budgets will surely lead to considerable upheaval in the planning world as we know it.
Charles Street has returned, razed to the ground having lost its concrete-cancer upper floors. It is now Pay & Display at £1.80 for the first hour. Most developers cannot foresee being able to build their great buildings around the Waterfront in the near future. There is therefore a rash of temporary car parks for three years. It will relieve the usual Christmas season parking problems but will it lead to many more cars in central Ipswich with the consequent gridlocking? Let us hope the flows are being studied by Dave Watson, Head of Suffolk County Council's Highway Department.