The future of a new school building in the town centre is set to be decided by the council after asbestos was found at the site.

Construction of the new 420-place primary school in Carr Street was put on hold by the discovery, along with concerns over preserving a rare artwork at the site.

An application to vary the conditions of previous planning permission, which involves demolishing the former Co-op building for the new school, will be discussed at the Ipswich Borough Council planning and development committee meeting on Wednesday (May 29).

Further plans concern the Grade II listed mural on the bridge over Cox Lane, joined to the former department store, to remove the top two floors of the bridge and retain the mosaic.

Ipswich Star: The Grade II listed mosaic mural above Cox Lane.The Grade II listed mosaic mural above Cox Lane. (Image: Google)

The plans would involve separating the link-bridge building from the main Co-op site before its demolition and knocking down two stories of the bridge to reduce the load on the building, according to the structural report.


The proposals, submitted by the Department for Education, would require the retention of the mural, and vary conditions to allow asbestos removal from the building, as well as not allowing any other works to take place until there is a contract for construction.

Permission was granted in October 2021 to pull down the empty department store for a new primary school and 26-place nursery, along with rooftop MUGA.

Ipswich Star: The 'Harvest' mural, at the back of the derelict Co-op department store building.The 'Harvest' mural, at the back of the derelict Co-op department store building. (Image: Google Maps)

However, last year the mural on the adjoining building was given Grade II listed status after an application from campaigner Beren Reid, prompting the need for its preservation.

Asbestos was later found within the fixing of the mural.

The 'Harvest' mural is one of only four surviving large-scale English Co-op murals from the 1950s and 1960s.

This piece, created by Hungarian artists Gyula Bajó and Endre Hevezi between 1963 and 1964, depicts the Greek mythology characters of Demeter, goddess of the harvest, and the messenger Hermes.