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Borough to call for rethink over parts of new Suffolk Record Office development at university

PUBLISHED: 09:05 15 November 2017

The existing Suffolk Record Office in Ipswich. Picture: SU ANDERSON

The existing Suffolk Record Office in Ipswich. Picture: SU ANDERSON

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Planners at Ipswich Borough Council are set to ask for a rethink of a proposal to develop a new Suffolk Record Office at the University of Suffolk, stating that parts of it do “not provide a promising setting”.

The development will be built opposite the University of Suffolk Waterfront building. Picture: ARCHANTThe development will be built opposite the University of Suffolk Waterfront building. Picture: ARCHANT

Proposals were unveiled in 2015 to develop land owned by the University of Suffolk, then known as University Campus Suffolk, into a multi-million pound heritage centre which would contain Suffolk Record Office and teaching space.

The Hold, as the scheme is being known, would feature the existing record office in Gatacre Road moving to the new site, which will be developed on the car park currently between the university’s Waterfront and Atrium buildings.

But a report prepared ahead of today’s borough council planning meeting has called for a rethink of some of the design.

The report’s recommendation said: “The lack of a masterplan setting for the eastern elevation is where the proposed building is at its least communicative (blank, functional volumes), and does not provide a promising setting for future development of the campus.

The Atrium building at the University of Suffolk will be on the other side of the development. Picture: SIMON PARKERThe Atrium building at the University of Suffolk will be on the other side of the development. Picture: SIMON PARKER

“It is considered that this element should be rethought in the context of an overall masterplan.”

The borough council will not be issuing a decision at today’s meeting, but instead is offering its thoughts on the scheme.

The plans would mean the Gatacre Road record office would remain as a storage site, while the university facilities in The Hold would include an education annexe, lecture hall, seminar rooms, learning centre, cafe, retail and exhibition space.

Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for health said it would be hugely beneficial for the town, public, county council, university and record office.

He added: “It provides one of the UK’s newest universities with a unique heritage facility in the heart of its campus – benefitting generations of students and researchers to come.

“It adds to the critical mass of regenerative activity in the Waterfront area and offers Suffolk Record Office a fantastic opportunity to showcase the county’s heritage, welcome visitors with fit-for-purpose facilities, and attract new audiences from a more accessible site.

“Based on comments received during the consultation period, we are now working with the design team to see how the front of the building and the eastern elevation could be made more visually striking, with any adjustments to the proposals being made will be made with a view to the application being determined by the county council in January.”

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