Ipswich: 14-floor student accommodation given green light

The 14-storey building, which was unanimously approved by planning members yesterday, will sit off Star Lane on land currently occupied by a temporary car park.

It comes less than a week after The Evening Star revealed the empty skeleton of the Regatta Quay development is unlikely to ever be completed.

Part of the complex – which will include 405 student bedrooms, a medical centre, retail premises, a creche and a launderette – is expected to open in September next year.

Simon Britton, interim director of estates at University Campus Suffolk (UCS), welcomed the decision, saying it was important for growth.

He said: “It will be very important to us to add to our offering for students because we had a huge increase in interest in our courses.

“Being a small institution of around 3-4,000 students there’s a need to grow to make the finances work.

“It’s important to grow but it’s important for the area that UCS grows because there is a demand for higher education in the local area and it brings in benefits to the local economy.”

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But he added the university will not be involved with running the student complex – instead applicants Investec Bank will bring in a private company to manage it.

Yet the scheme, which was approved at a meeting of Ipswich Borough Council’s (IBC) planning committee, did receive some opposition.

Mike Cook, who is responsible for planning matters at The Ipswich Society, said: “I think most people don’t like high buildings.

“Our view of Ipswich has been completely changed in the last few years.

“They’re setting a precedent for tall buildings all along Key Street.”

Steve Miller, development control manager at IBC, said: “I think the impact will be fairly limited. It’s in an area of tall buildings and this relates reasonably well to them.

“The existing block in Duke Street is fully occupied and UCS urgently need more accommodation.

“This particular site is in need of regeneration. There are hardly any buildings on the site and the site has a temporary car park which is unsightly.”