Controversy over new Waterfront flats

CONTROVERSIAL proposals to build more than 200 flats near Ipswich Waterfront were today up in the air just 24 hours before a vital decision on the site is due to be made.

By Paul Geater

CONTROVERSIAL proposals to build more than 200 flats near Ipswich Waterfront were today up in the air just 24 hours before a vital decision on the site is due to be made.

A masterplan to develop the former BOCM/Pauls site opposite the Old Custom House was unveiled by developers ESHA earlier this year.

It proposes building 211 flats in five blocks, new retail units, offices, and a new craft market in the converted warehouse fronting Key Street.

However it provoked concern because of the creation of a new public open space, called Custom House Square, straddling Key Street.

The road would remain open to traffic, but would be paved and have a 20mph limit.

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Leading councillors warned that such a development could cause traffic chaos around the Waterfront.

But the application is to be considered by the borough's planning committee tomorrow - with an officers' recommendation that it should be approved.

The report says: "The enhancement of a defined pedestrian route/space across Key Street adjoining the new public square is strongly supported and highways officers are comfortable with the principle of a block-paved traffic table designed to effect traffic calming at this point."

However council leader Liz Harsant was less than happy - and said many councillors were concerned about the traffic implications of the application.

She said: "This is a non-political committee, but certainly my colleagues in the Conservative group have serious concerns about the application.

"I cannot see how such a development can avoid creating very serious traffic chaos in the area. Things are already bad in that part of the town and this is going to make it even worse.

"We need to hear a lot more from the officers - it does seem to have come up very quickly."

As revealed in The Evening Star earlier this year, architect Trevor Horne said he had worked closely with officers from the borough to draw up the plans for the site - and that he hoped the final application would get approval from the planning committee.

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