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Former Ipswich law offices set to return to original use as homes

PUBLISHED: 12:14 06 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:00 06 January 2020

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

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

Archant

Plans to convert Birketts former solicitors' offices in Museum Street, Ipswich, into flats are expected to get the go-ahead.

The proposal to convert the former offices - which became vacant when Birketts moved to Providence House in Princes Street in the summer of 2018 - into nine one and two-bedroomed flats, will be discussed by Ipswich Council planners over the next few months.

In converting the buildings they will be reverting to their original use - they were built as townhouses during the Victorian period but during the second half of the 19th century Benjamin Birkett bought more and more properties to convert them into offices as his practice expanded.

It was always planned that the offices would be converted back to residential use when Birketts moved out, and the application is not expected to encounter much opposition as it goes through the council's planning process.

The application has been made by the JTS Partnership of Brentwood in Essex after consultation with the borough's planning officers and conservation officers. Museum Street is within a Conservation Area which imposes restrictions on development.

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There is no car parking included with the development - but that is not required for small-scale housing schemes in the heart of the town centre - however the design does include space for cycle storage as well as an area to store rubbish bins.

The applicants say: "The conversion of the buildings into flats will make the best use of previously developed land, whilst properly respecting heritage significance.

"The flats will be of an appropriate size and have an appropriate level of amenity, including access to public open space.

"The buildings are located within the heart of the town centre, with excellent access to a full range of retail, commercial, cultural, leisure, entertainment and employment opportunities."

The application was formally received by the borough just after Christmas. It is expected to be discussed by members of the authority's planning and development committee over the next few months.

If the work is approved, it is expected to start later in the year with the flats being ready for occupation a few months later.

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