Councillors urged to allow Ipswich Co-op demolition

Former Co-op store

Planning officers are urging councillors to give the go-ahead for the demolition of the former Co-op department store in Carr Street, Ipswich. - Credit: David Vincent

Ipswich councillors are being advised to allow the controversial demolition of the town's former Co-op department store when it goes up for planning permission next week.

The Edwardian building - which dates from 1906 - needs to be demolished to make way for a new primary school on the Carr Street site and planning officers say "on balance" it should be replaced.

This is despite objections from the Ipswich Society, the Suffolk Preservation Society, the Victorian Society and the 20th Century Society. Historic England, however, has said it has no objection.

In a report for next week's meeting of the borough's planning and development committee, officers do want the council to insist that parts of the building, including a frieze and a mosaic are preserved and moved to a new site.

Plans for a new 420-place primary school in Ipswich town centre have been submitted to the council

Plans for a new 420-place primary school in Ipswich town centre have been submitted to the council - Credit: Concertus Design and Property Consultants Ltd

They say: "The proposal is considered to be acceptable on balance having regard to the loss of the heritage asset and in terms of its replacement with a well designed and sustainable building."

The officers also say that the proposed new building would be of a high standard and would be much more energy-efficient than any remodelling of the existing building.

They add: "It can be concluded that the proposal would be of at least equal standard to the buildings being replaced, and would improve views from Majors Corner and from Upper Barclay Street/Cox Lane.

"The proposal would also be highly sustainable whereas the existing buildings would be unlikely to meet requirements relating to renewable energy for example."

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However the Ipswich Society has written to say that they object to the demolition of the building - although not to the principle of the site being used as a school.

They say: "Alternatives to demolition should be sought, such as former garden centre to rear. A site visit is recommended and the mosaics and lettering should also be preserved, with the Harvest mosaic a condition of the demolition of that part of the building."

Suffolk Highways also lodged an official objection to the plans because of fears over access to the new school - but the officers are hopeful that a solution can be found that can lead to the withdrawal of that objection by the time of the meeting.