Waitrose in the Corn Exchange
"The Ipswich Society supports the change of use ... We do however
have major reservations with this application and feel strongly that
it should be refused in its current form. The Corn Exchange/Town
Hall is the major civic building of our town and is Grade II Listed.
For the last forty years it has been given over to cultural activities
and is thus an icon to many of our citizens. By a large majority
they support the concept of a small Waitrose in the Corn Exchange
but feel that the proposals implode on to the historic building and
the activities which take place in it. Furthermore at no time have
the users been properly consulted as to how the building could
be utilised .... The following parts of the application The Ipswich
Society finds unacceptable as published and need to be changed.
Currently the windows on to Princes Street and King
Street are clear glazed but the lower portion is used to advertise
events in the Corn Exchange, Regent and Film Theatre. Assuming
that the posters are successful in attracting customers, both
mc and the Film Theatre Trust will lose some revenue. They are
to be replaced by vinyls in every window and made obscure by
plasterboard. This is an unpleasant interference with a Listed
Robert Cross Hall
There seems to have been no thought given to
the users of the western half of the Hall. Their breakout area is lost,
the bar is lost, the kiosk is lost and the access to the toilets is via a
crooked two metre wide corridor. There is, we feel sure, sufficient
space to provide a satisfactory solution to all users but not enough
top class architectural thought has been given to seeking this out.
This is the time to revise the Film Theatre box
office and foyer with the aid of a contribution from Waitrose,
whose aspirations the Council is so strongly supporting. There
are also concerns over the safety of the fire exits from the two
cinemas when the works are complete. More importantly, Waitrose
tramping and trolleying must not disturb the cinemas; a condition
of satisfactory sound attenuation must be in the conditions. There
must also be consideration of construction noise and its timing,
particularly during the building of the steps to the new entrance (in
Subsequently we learned that only minor changes in the plans were
proposed and some reassurances given.
Planning permission was granted on 7 September. No one opposed
the principle of this application although the Society, Ipswich
Arts Association and Ipswich Film Theatre Trust spoke strongly
of their objections to the signage, the removal of advertising
space for events in the Corn Exchange and their concerns about
noise, deliveries, fire exits and waste management. As a result
conditions and management plans will be set to deal with most of
the problems, although the window vinyls will be installed.
A 10mm thick noise reducing panel will be laid over the whole floor.
And it is said there is no reason why construction should interfere
with Film Theatre showings.
It was suggested that a dialogue should be started with Waitrose;
to that end I am proposing that the Chairs of the Arts Association,
Film Theatre Trust and our Society should write a joint letter to
Waitrose, not their planning consultants, to have a meeting to
discuss specific problems.
Some notes on other planning issues.
John Lewis at Home and Waitrose, Crane's site, Nacton Road
Historically this is the most significant application for some years.
The site is large, some 44 acres earmarked for manufacturing or
industrial use. A change of use to retail will mean the end of any
hope of large scale industrial activity in the town. That apart, the
town centre has two very large empty spaces which have retail
consent (the Westgate/former Civic Centre and the Mint Quarter).
But the John Lewis Partnership does not consider them appropriate
because they are too far away from major roads.
There are exciting plans or the demolition of
a 1960s shed for a new barn-shaped studio in the garden of this
Grade II* early 17th century building for Red Rose Chain. These
plans will be commented on in depth later.
Hare and Hounds, Norwich Road
The former pub has been
bought by Coe's and will be used as their bridal shop.
Proposed children's home at Thurleston cricket centre
design of this is Neanderthal, uninviting and most unsuitable for an
institution such as this. It's a good idea in the right spot but a clear
case of "Get a better architect." [IBC has refused permission - poor
First Floor Club, Tacket Street
An application was made to
open a pole- and lap-dancing club. Many objections were raised and
a long well argued case by the police led to the application being