The future of the Cornhill
from Mrs Rani Pert
I too write to say how dismayed I am at the choice of the Council re: the
The two buildings to be affected, the Town Hall and the Old Post Office, are
grand in design which incorporates the stairs - the removal of these to form
a level platform will arguably make the buildings look out of proportion,
apart from the challenges of the design which will incur huge expense.
The open space of the Cornhill is great - and marvellous for things like New
Year's Eve, the cycle race, and any event needing an open space. It can
certainly be tidied up, and more seating placed there as well as maybe a
I do wonder why the Council does not approach or ask the people what they
would like; maybe a competition as happened with the Wheel in London.
I attended the display [in the Town Hall in September 2013] and it was
plainly obvious to me regardless of what we say, the Council were going to
pursue a change, taking one of the five designs presented, none of which
were by a local company who understand Ipswich and its needs.
The Town needs regeneration and at the moment all the Council are succeeding
in doing is stopping people from coming to the Town. The traffic schemes are
challenging, all the traffic lights and the cost of parking is prohibitive.
It will be made worse by changing the double roundabout at Norwich Road into
We need a crowd-puller, and the alteration of Cornhill will not be the
from John Clough
I must write to tell you how emphatically I agree with every word you say in
the Newsletter on this subject, and to echo the hint in your subtitle. It
is appalling to contemplate £3,000,000 being spent on the Cornhill to
such small apparent effect. Large sums have just been spent on the two bus
stations with similar non-results, opportunities to improve the designs
being entirely missed.
Your demand for proper resurfacing of pedestrianised streets prompts me to
appeal for a more frequent cleanup of the chewing gum which we now have to
walk on all over the town centre, though a permanent solution is what is
really needed. A much larger number of small litter bins might help.
On residential development in the town centre - I have never understood why
floors above small retail premises cannot be put to greater residential use.
This would bring life to the area and improve the security of the shops.
Could the rating system be used to encourage this?
The Newsletter's Planning coverage
from Councillor Carole Jones, (Executive
member, Economic Development & Planning, Ipswich Borough Council)
I always read the Society's Newsletter with interest and, as a Borough
councillor and an individual, have great respect for the work the Society
has done and continues to do.
However, I feel I must comment on some aspects of recent Newsletters.
- 'Planning Matters': Mr Cook is unhappy that approval was given to a house in
the grounds of Tudor House Stone Lodge Lane. That is fair enough. But to
then attack the Council's planning department for 'this continuing granting
of permission to aesthetically unsatisfactory buildings' is a wild leap from
the specific to the general. It is very unfair to planning officers, who
have fought hard to preserve Barton Wood and Tudor Lodge - for instance, in
2011 the Council won an appeal against a decision to refuse permission to
build 28 houses in the grounds. For the record, Committee and officers have
regularly refused planning permission on design grounds. Clearly the
Committee didn't agree with Mr Cook on this particular application but, to a
degree, design will always be a subjective issue.
The Emperor public house, Norwich Road: Mr Cook has misunderstood the
application. Tesco did not need planning permission for a change of use.
Their application was for an extension to the building. The comment that
'planning officers didn't handle the case well' is unjustified, and not
supported by any evidence; there is no basis in planning law for refusing an
application for an extension simply because you don't like a lawful use of
the site. As a ward councillor I represented local residents in opposing
this application at Committee. The bottom line was that Punch Taverns, the
owners, did not want to keep the pub open.
The Council does not support out-of-town retailing at the expense of the
town centre. If we could have persuaded John Lewis to open up in the town
centre, we would have; it would have had a completely transformative effect
on our town centre retailing. But JLP were unmoveable. The Futura Park
development was a second best, but the application 'enabled' the
decontamination of the whole site and its preparation for wider employment
uses. Also, at Committee it was noted that Ipswich Central lodged no
objections to the application, which was significant as they represent many
town centre retailers.
The Martlesham Heath out-of-town stores Mr Cook mentions are in Suffolk
Coastal, not Ipswich Borough, and were approved by them despite the
Thank you for the opportunity to respond. Meanwhile, I look forward to
continuing to work with the Society for the benefit of our town.
All best wishes,
Councillor Carole Jones (Portfolio-holder for Planning Ipswich Borough