New 400-place primary school could be built in Ipswich town centre
- Credit: Concertus Design and Property Consultants Ltd
A new primary school and nursery with more than 400 places could be built in Ipswich town centre.
Plans for the school on the site of the former Co-Op department store were submitted by the Department for Education last week, after the proposals were first discussed in 2017.
The buildings would be demolished to accommodate the school, although the locally-listed facades would remain.
There would be no space for school playing fields due to the school's location, with proposals instead arguing for a multi-use games area to be built on the roof, protected by a 3.6m high fence.
Overall, the primary school would have places for 420 pupils, with the nursery adding a further 26 places.
A public consultation on the plans was held online in December last year, with 18 comments made via an online survey.
Of all 18, 11 were negative while three were positive and a further four were neutral.
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Among the concerns were impact on traffic and pollution in the town centre, while others questioned whether the site was suitable and safe for a school.
No on-site parking is included in the plans, with cycle and scooter spaces provided instead. Developers hope families would live in the local area and instead walk or cycle to school.
Some have also questioned whether the existing building could instead be renovated to save its demolition, although design consultants say it is unsuitable.
Terry Hunt, chairman of Ipswich Vision, said he hopes the school would help further build a community in that part of town as it looks to a future away from retail.
Mr Hunt said: "Carr Street has over the last 10 to 15 years gone downhill as a retail centre In the Ipswich Vision strategy it is not seen as a retail centre any longer.
"With the church, the community centre and now plans for the school, some retail and the pub we really see this area as a community.
"Hearing the plans are moving forward is brilliant news as it will bring people and life to that part of town. Nothing brings a community to life more than a school.
"Getting people into the town centre for reasons that include retail, but also for reasons other than retail, is exactly what the Ipswich Vision Connected Town strategy is all about."