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Homes returning to Ipswich town centre after law firm's move

PUBLISHED: 16:00 06 March 2019

The former Birketts offices in Museum Street are set to be converted into flats. Picture: PAUL GEATER

The former Birketts offices in Museum Street are set to be converted into flats. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Archant

One of the most historic streets in Ipswich town centre is set to go back to the future after borough planners gave permission for its former offices to be converted into flats.

The former Birketts offices in Museum Street are set to be converted into flats. Picture: PAUL GEATERThe former Birketts offices in Museum Street are set to be converted into flats. Picture: PAUL GEATER

The Victorian townhouses in Museum Street were originally built as homes for the town’s merchants and professionals during the 19th century, but they were later converted to offices as Birketts law firm expanded.

Birketts moved out of the buildings last year when their new headquarters, Providence House in Princes Street, was completed.

The Grade II listed buildings in Museum Street were always earmarked to be converted into flats, and Ipswich Council’s planning and development committee has now approved the change of use for a substantial part of the buildings.

Numbers 28-32 Museum Street will be turned into nine flats with bin and cycle stores while number 20 will be turned into four flats.

John Howard has bought part of the former Co-op building in Carr Street. The businesses on the ground floor are not affected by the redevelopment plans. Picture: PAUL GEATERJohn Howard has bought part of the former Co-op building in Carr Street. The businesses on the ground floor are not affected by the redevelopment plans. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Between the two developments there is one three-bedroomed flat planned with the rest being one or two-bedroomed homes.

None of the flats will have any parking – but the planning officers told councillors this was considered acceptable because they were in the town centre and on a bus route with stops just outside their front doors.

And while they said there could be noise for residents living in the flats, it was not unreasonable for people who moved into flats in the town centre to expect their home to be less quiet than elsewhere.

The committee also approved plans to turn a former nightclub in nearby Arcade Street into 14 one, two and three-bedroomed flats – bringing the total number of new homes being approved by the committee in this part of town to 27.

These approvals come just days after it was confirmed that Ipswich-based developer John Howard hopes to turn part of the former Co-op department store in Carr Street into 33 flats and as work continues on turning the former Call Connection offices in Cromwell Square into flats.

Encouraging more people to live in the town centre is a vital part of the Ipswich Vision strategy to bring life back to the heart of Ipswich as the retail and food and drink sectors come under more pressure from the rise of internet shopping and the continuing effects of the economic squeeze over the last few years.

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