Campaigners oppose demolition of former Ipswich Co-op department store

Old Co-op store

The Ipswich Society wants to save the facade of the old Co-op department store. - Credit: Archant

The Ipswich Society has hit out at proposals to demolish the former Co-op department store in Carr Street and replace it with a school for 420 students.

When a school was first proposed for the site four years ago, it was said that the existing building would be converted to a new use - but at the start of this year, it became clear that was no longer the plan.

Earlier this week, detailed CGI images of the proposed new building were produced - and Ipswich Society chairman John Norman said his members were very unhappy about the proposals to demolish the entire building.

Carr Street school

John Norman described the design of the new school as mundane. - Credit: Concertus

He said: "That is quite a big site. We want to see a school there - but if they cannot make it work with the existing building, there is plenty of other space on the old garden centre site and part of Cox Lane.

"The building they are proposing is very mundane and there is no requirement to demolish a building that is locally listed and is very important to the history and culture of Ipswich as an industrial town.

"The corner section with its ornate facade should be kept - as should the part next to it in Carr Street, with the white frontage saying Ipswich Industrial Co-operative Society Limited.

John Norman.

Ipswich Society chair John Norman. - Credit: Archant

"If they cannot be incorporated into the new school, then that should be built at the back - it could still have a frontage on to Carr Street because the rest of the building does not need to be saved - and that corner section could be converted into flats."

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The school is to be built for the Active Learning Trust in a project led by Ipswich-based Concertus Design and Property Consultants.

At the start of this year, the ALT held an online consultation on the plans and said retaining the existing facade would "significantly compromise the functionality of the new building, and therefore not make the best use of the site, and would also impact upon the learning experience of attending pupils".

The academy chain added: "It would also have significant cost implications.

"It is therefore considered that the only viable option is to demolish the majority of the existing buildings and construct a new purpose-built facility on the site." 

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