...it's our town

Listed Buildings
of Ipswich Ipswich School

Newsletter, July 2004 (Issue 156)

Ambitions for Cranfields

The sheer scale and importance of these proposals mean that the Society has responded at some length. We feel sure that members will be interested to see quite a lot of what we've said.

"The Ipswich Society would like to congratulate the architect and developer, and IBC's planning officers, EEDA, the Arts Council and CABE in producing and shaping such an exciting and comprehensive set of proposals for the Waterfront .... It is not our intention to compromise the commercial viability of the scheme, rather to constructively suggest what is, and in our considered opinion, what is not acceptable in Ipswich. The proposed development is in a Conservation Area, will have an impact on Listed buildings including St Mary at Quay Church and should therefore have sympathy with its neighbours, particularly in terms of height, scale and massing."

We then make brief comments on the two areas north of Key Street, those around St Mary at Quay Church. One would include a public open space at the east end of the church. The other area, further east, could include a hotel where we would be concerned about car parking. We also express concerns about pedestrian access to the Waterfront from these two areas.

Going on to the proposals for the main Cranfield's Mill site, we say:

"The Ipswich Society is impressed with the quality and variety of materials proposed and the mixed uses planned. We particularly like the piazza and the opportunity afforded to businesses to face both externally on to the Waterfront and internally on to the square ... The retention of the colonnades is to be applauded and they will provide a focal point for lunchtime and evening activity ... We don't agree with the retention of the railway tracks. They are a health and safety hazard ... and in our opinion are nostalgia taken too far.

"The architect is keen to allow vehicles along the quayside, suggesting that they bring people, light and movement, reducing crime and anti-social behaviour. The Ipswich Society takes a different stance and believes it is very important to reduce vehicles on the quayside, limiting access for deliveries during the working day. This will allow a cafe culture to develop with alfresco dining, particularly under the colonnades The architect is proposing some modern and novel materials for the apartments fronting the piazza and after some discussion we applaud his choice...

"We are opposed to a 23 storey tower, and have further concerns about the scale of the 17 and 14 storey supporting structures in Foundry Lane. We feel that for this context a maximum height close to that of the existing silos is appropriate. Even if the proposed heights are reduced the fenestration is unsatisfactory and we would like to see alternative proposals ... Members have expressed to us spontaneously similar views in unequivocal terms. Previously several applications for buildings taller than the existing silos have been refused, including proposals for Paul's burnt-out maltings site, and the initial proposals for the Burton's site. We accept that each application should be reviewed on its merits and that the Waterfront can accept tall buildings, particularly adjacent to open water but believe that this proposal is too high. It should also be noted that the tower is not adjacent to an open aspect, rather the narrow neck of water at the extreme western end of the dock.

"It is important to consider the impact of the proposed heights from viewpoints in other parts of the town, from where the tower will draw the eye ... There is a certain ambience of the treelined horizon viewed from almost anywhere in Ipswich, and existing buildings, with very few exceptions, do not break the skyline, a townscape scale we can live with and live in.

"Wharfeside's proposals will create a massive development that has the potential to truly link the town centre and Waterfront ... In principle the scheme should progress. However, some of the details, and in particular the height of the taller buildings, need modification."

    Front cover of issue 156 Cover, issue 156

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