12 flats could be built at former offices

Offices at Princes Street, Ipswich could be converted into twelve flats

Offices at Princes Street, Ipswich could be converted into twelve flats - Credit: Barefoot and Gilles

Ipswich offices could be converted to a total of 12 flats under the latest plans from a developer. 

Planning permission on Princes Street had already been approved in September 2018 to change the first, second and third-floor offices into twelve self-contained flats with cycle and recycling bin storage. 

But due to building work delays, Century House's developer London-based Bannerchoice Developments submitted an application to Ipswich Borough Council on July 21 to amend the plans. 

The ground floor is also now being converted from offices into a house, with its 2019 planning permission unaffected by the delayed conversion of the other floors. 

Barefoot and Gilles, architects acting for the owner, explained Bannerchoice did not acquire the site until early 2020 so they do not know why the work was delayed. 

Architect Roger Gilles of Barefoot and Gilles, Ipswich

Architect Roger Gilles of Barefoot and Gilles, Ipswich - Credit: Barefoot and Gilles

Roger Gilles, director at Barefoot and Gilles, added: "Due diligence always takes a while for sales of that nature.”

Mr Gilles also explained how the high street is changing in Ipswich.

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He said: “The pandemic has accelerated a trend that was already taking place as employers offered more flexibility, allowing people to work from home.

"With shops closing and offices sparsely populated, town centres are in danger of emptying out.

"The answer is to take offices and the spaces above shops for which there is no demand and to create more places for people to live.

"This will revitalise town centres and create a demand for local shops, bars and restaurants reviving both retail and hospitality. Town centres will again become the social centres they once were, attracting people who live further afield to visit and experience the variety of social interaction that only town centres can offer.

"As a practice we firmly believe that to convert as many otherwise redundant premises as possible to good quality residential accommodation will have a beneficial effect on the town centre. 

"Planning policy recognises this and we have been encouraged by the response of the planning committee to recent applications for conversion that we have made.

"Century House is a good example of this process, the building itself is well-located in what was once the centre of insurance and retail banking in the town centre, 15 minutes from the railway station and a stone’s throw from shops and restaurants.

"We shall convert what was fairly indifferent office space into a series of well-appointed flats offering great wi-fi connection for people wanting to work from home.”

If you want to know more search planning.ipswich.gov.uk for 19/00804/P3JPA.