Compete to design new building - call

Heritage watchdogs are calling for an architectural competition for a design to replace the shops and car park in St Matthew's Street in the town centre.

IPSWICH: Heritage watchdogs are calling for an architectural competition for a design to replace the shops and car park in St Matthew's Street in the town centre.

The current building has been branded by the Ipswich Society as “one of the poorest and least aesthetically pleasing entrances to the town.”

The borough council has already rejected one set of plans to redevelop 2-32 St Matthew's Street with a five storey complex which would include shops, a 125-bed budget hotel, and a very sheltered care home.

The project will be known as St George's House and Jack Chapman, chairman of the Ipswich Society, says : “We would like to see a competition set up to design the redevelopment of the site between Berners Street and St George's Street.

“This is a vital site which is a natural entrance to the town. We want to be sure Ipswich gets a building worthy of the site.”

While welcoming the mixed use of the area as envisaged in the rejected planning application, the society said in a submission to the council: “The actual plans presented are not appropriate for the site, which overlooks the central conservation area.

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“It would be a big building placed in an area which is still built to an essentially domestic residential scale.

“No only is it too high, but its fa�ade is too monolithic which adds to the incongruity of St Matthew's Street.

“We really must be firm and not allow history to repeat itself with another over-development for the sake of progress.”

Among the reasons given by borough planners for rejecting the application was that was too high, it dominated the bottom of Berners Street, and was an unsuitable location for very sheltered housing.