Proposals to turn the upper floors of Sailmakers shopping centre into 26 flats will go before planners next week. 

The application for a change of use from retail to residential for the first and second floors of the shopping centre is set to be raised at the next Ipswich Borough Council Planning and Development Control Committee on February 7.

The development on Tavern Street would provide six studio flats, 14 one-bed flats, and six two-bed flats spread over the two floors.

The flats would follow the same layout as each other, with a hallway off the communal corridor with cupboard space, a shower room, bedroom space, and open plan kitchen, dining and living room.

One of the studio flats on the second floor would have a private balcony on the south side, overlooking the street.

In documents to the planning committee, officers wrote: "Subject to the imposition of appropriate planning conditions, the proposal would be acceptable in terms of its design, appearance and heritage asset impact. Furthermore, the scheme would provide good access to outdoor amenity given the close proximity of Christchurch Park and the Waterfront and would be appropriate in terms of cycle storage provision, and highways considerations."

The plans also include central staircases, storage areas and cleaner's cupboard, along with storage for 70 bikes.

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If approved, the plans would only convert vacant space on the first and second floors, which was previously used for storage by previous retailers before leaving the shopping centre.

There would be no extensions and only minor external alterations to create new windows, and no changes to any retail units in the shopping centre.

The plans for 26 flats were resubmitted in February last year after initial proposals for 28 flats were withdrawn at the request of officers, as the proposed floorspace exceeded 1,500sqm, which did not comply with the permitted conversion area.

The proposals were submitted by the centre's owners Sailmakers Ipswich (ALB) Limited, who purchased the site in 2022. 

According to planning records, part of the site was used as a secondary school in 1949, and has over time has been used as offices, car parking and an open air market, until it was developed into a shopping centre in the early 1980s.