A new series of communication hubs have received mixed responses including concerns they could "clutter" areas of the town. 

Permission has been sought to install the communication hubs which include a defibrillator and advertisement display on Carr Street, Old Cattle Market and Tacket Street. 

Each hub would offer services including access to free ultrafast Wi-Fi, free phone calls to landlines and charities, charging and a defibrillator. 

The applicant is JCDecauxUK which has secured planning permission in the past for hubs across Ipswich. 

Objections have been lodged against the proposals for Carr Street and Old Cattle Market ahead of Ipswich Borough Council's planning committee next week. 

The applicant has permission for two similar hubs to be installed on Carr Street following an appeal in December 2019, but these have not been installed.

This is because the nearest of the approved hubs would be too close to an existing bench and could not be installed in the approved location.

The new proposed hub would be installed between Merkur Slots and Cake Box. 

In the report, IBC Conservation and Urban Design team says while the location has the potential capability to accommodate a streetscape addition of this kind, due to the two nearby approvals a third would create "a significant amount of visual clutter of their own".

The team said the Carr Street hub should be refused on the basis of visual harm "and it would set a precedent for the creation of clusters of hubs elsewhere in the town centre."

The Ipswich conservation and design panel has objected to the design of the hubs and says in general it does not support the installation of hubs in Ipswich "except in exceptional circumstances". 

In its objection the panel said: "A panel member has seen Hubs installed in Northampton - they have resulted in the streets and public spaces looking incredibly crowded, and block views of listed buildings. It was agreed that generally they should be refused as they are only modern advertisements, with little to no community benefit."

Proposals for a hub on highway land outside the NCP car park in Tacket Street raised no objections from consultees who were happy with a small relocation of the bike rack if the plans were approved. 

The report said the proposal would not impact negatively on residential amenities nearby nor raises any highway safety concerns.

A number of concerns were raised around the installation of a hub outside the Buttermarket shopping centrem, near Revolution Bar. 

These included that pedestrians would be impeded, risk of the hub being vandalised, and that "confrontations between civilians and the authorities are common in the area".

One suggestion was the hub would be better located on the other side of the square or within the middle island.

The report to the committee said: "The proposal would not impact negatively on residential amenity in close proximity of the site. Moreover, subject to conditions, the proposal would be acceptable in maintaining local crime safety."