More town centre homes on the way for Ipswich as social club heads for demolition

The former county council social club in Rope Walk, Ipswich, which is to be demolished and replaced

The former county council social club in Rope Walk, Ipswich, which is to be demolished and replaced with new homes. - Credit: Archant

Ipswich town centre could be getting more new homes – this time on the site of the former county council social club in Rope Walk.

The 1960s-built social club has been closed for several years – its last use was as a student union headquarters for what was then UCS and Suffolk New College.

The building has become derelict and unsafe and is currently fenced off awaiting demolition.

Now a planning application has been lodged with Ipswich Borough Council to redevelop the site.

Applicant Medusa Consulting wants to build 12 houses on the site, four offices and two flats.

The application is due to be considered by Ipswich council’s planning and development committee in the spring – but the principle of the proposal is not expected to cause many problems.

The proposed development is the latest town-centre residential proposal. It would be opposite St Edmund House in Rope Walk.

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That former Suffolk County Council office block was last year converted into 74 loft-style flats which have all been sold.

And it comes on top of several other town-centre developments and conversions that are either under way or for which planning permission has been granted.

Last week former Ipswich council leader Liz Harsant spoke of the attractions that are making town-centre living increasingly attractive.

Now local councillor John Cook, whose Alexandra ward includes the Rope Walk area of the town, has welcomed the proposal to redevelop the social club site.

He said: “It is a building that has long outlived its planned lifespan when it was first built.

“We got the fence put up to make it safe and cleared some rubbish around it, but it needs to be completely redeveloped.

“As a potential reserve member of the borough’s planning committee I cannot comment directly except to say that I welcome the principle of creating more homes in the town centre.”

As well as the new homes in Rope Walk and at the Waterfront, there are other new homes being created in the town centre – including in Lower Brook Street.

Mr Cook said he preferred to see new purpose-built developments, but some conversions worked very well.