Concern over Ipswich skyline

CONCERNS have been voiced today over the future of Ipswich's skyline after a 23-storey building has been given planning permission.As reported in later editions of yesterday's Evening Star, approval was given to allow the development of the old Cranfield's Mill at a planning meeting during the morning.

CONCERNS have been voiced today over the future of Ipswich's skyline after a 23-storey building has been given planning permission.

As reported in later editions of yesterday's Evening Star, approval was given to allow the development of the old Cranfield's Mill at a planning meeting during the morning.

However the several questions still linger over the size of future developments for the town.

At yesterday's meeting Councillor Sandy Martin, said: "My worry is that having seen one developer get permission for a 23 storey granted another one will come along with a bigger idea."

Cllr Carole Jones also voiced concerns that a limit should be placed on the number of future high rise buildings given approval.

The approval means work can start on the mill, associated garage and lorry park, on College Street, to transform it into flats, affordable housing and a dance studio.

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An 80-bedroom hotel, offices, a café, and car parking are all earmarked for the 1.2 hectare site that was purchased by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) in 2000.

The bulk of the existing building will be demolished to make way for 325 flats - a mix of 30 studio apartments, 151 one bedroom apartments, 110 two bedroom apartments and 34 duplex units.

There will also be 3,840 square metres of space on the ground floor for use by Dance East.

Mike Cook of the Ipswich Society told those at the meeting: "We are very concerned with encouraging regeneration but we need the right buildings to do it. I don't think this is the right building or that it is in the right place.

"The Ipswich Society has 1,200 members and I have talked to many of them about this development and not one of those people would support a 23 story building."

But Mike Smith, head of planning for the council, said: "We can understand that many people are nervous about a building of this height but the town does need tall buildings and it will give the town a sense of placing. I think the main thing is that the building is attractive."

Architect Spencer Style said that the waterfront had a dramatic feel to it because of the different and unique buildings and this should be built upon instead of torn down. He admitted the development was exceptional but added that it was also deliverable.

After permission was granted John Lyall, managing director of John Lyall Architects who are working on the development, said: "I am delighted with the outcome and we will be marching forward with the development. There are still a lot of issues that need to be addressed but this is a great step forward and we are thankful for all the support from Ipswich Borough Council."

Permission was granted subject to conditions including flood protection measures, noise reduction measures, CCTV, landscaping and paving, and the provision of a children's play area.

N Do you think the changing face of Ipswich's skyline is a good or a bad thing? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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