Ipswich: Planning law must not be allowed to put a brake on town’s development

Shop to Let in Tacket Street, Ipswich

Shop to Let in Tacket Street, Ipswich - Credit: Archant

I am becoming increasingly concerned about a sense of inertia that is gripping the town – and the lack of a clear vision of how to move forward.

There is an exciting proposal to try to link the town centre and Waterfront, creating a genuinely exciting place to visit.

But while Ipswich Central and some organisations seem keen to push this vision, there seems to be a distinct lack of action from the body that really needs to get involved – the borough council.

And I’m really concerned that within the borough, especially the planning department, a worrying attitude seems to be developing.

Why on earth officers are objecting to a new café being created in part of the old Cash Converters store in Tacket Street totally baffles me.


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If it increases the proportion of cafés above that which the government says is ideal, so what? Coffee shops are not exactly dens of iniquity – and many people would rather see them than more betting shops.

Why did planning officers object to the creation of new shops in Western House on Hadleigh Road? A decision that was overturned by elected members.

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To be fair sometimes they get things right – the decision to allow the conversion of much of the Buttermarket Centre into a cinema was right and should boost the town centre.

But surely if we are going to turn the town into a place that people want to visit that must be the norm.

The default in any planning application must be: “Is granting this permission going to be better than leaving the shop/bar/bank unit empty?” Empty units are a real blight on the town.

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