Extension proposed for Suffolk Probation Service rehabilitation facility

Satellite image of Suffolk Probation Services rehabilitation facility in Ipswich

The outhouses, including old pool hall and stable buildings, could be demolished in new plans - Credit: Google Maps

Plans to build an 11-bedroom extension at a premises managed by the National Probation Service (NPS) have been submitted to the council. 

The Cottage, which is an Approved Premises facility that aids rehabilitation and resettlement of offenders during their early months back in the community, is seeking permission to demolish outhouses in the rear garden and build a two-storey residential block to create more accommodation. 

Currently the facility has 14 bedrooms, providing accommodation for up to 15 male offenders, and this capacity is proposed to be increased to add 11 new ensuite bedrooms. 

The existing pool room and stable outbuildings will be replaced by the proposed building, which would have a resident's lounge, laundry facility and reception area as well as the sleeping spaces. 

There is a national need for additional places at facilities like The Cottage, and this extension attempts to meet a ministerial commitment made in 2019 for 200 more spaces across the country. 

The Cottage has been operating as an Approved Premises since the early 1970s "without serious incident". 

Documents submitted to the council as part of the application process state: "The addition of 11 more bedrooms to a such a well-established facility ... will not result in any discernible difference to the way that the AP currently operates within the local area and interfaces with the local community." 

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Pre-application advice was sought from the council in September 2021, with two meetings that resulted in the design of the building being changed. 

Although it is still two-storey in some parts, it is mostly one-storey, and better reflects nearby properties. 

The application was validated on March 23, with standard consultations taken until April 13.