Are new flats and a gym on the way for Ipswich’s former Argos store?
PUBLISHED: 19:00 06 April 2020
The former Argos store in Ipswich’s Carr Street could be converted into flats and a gym, as well as a smaller shop unit, if a planning application submitted to the borough council is approved.
The owners of the building, HD Investments (Ipswich) Ltd are applying to make the changes, which would see the current building remodelled above the ground floor.
On the ground floor, the former public area of the shop would be retained as a retail unit but the large area behind it would be converted into a gym.
Above the ground floor the upper floors would be substantially changed to develop 22 flats – eight with one bedroom and 14 with two. The flats would share a rooftop garden on top of part of the shop and gym.
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The plans have been drawn up by Colchester company B3 Architects. Its team has already met officials from the borough council to discuss the plans and consulted them over the plans before they were formally submitted to Grafton House.
The long-term proposal for Carr Street is for it to become a more mixed area than relying on retail. On the opposite side of the road to the former Argos, the former Co-op department store is due to become a new school and the other part of the store has planning permission to be turned into flats.
Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere said the future of the former Argos store did depend of the decision of the council’s planning and development committee, which would discuss it later in the year.
He said: “There is a proposal that Carr Street should be less reliant on retail. This proposal would appear to fit in with that – but it really is up to the planning committee to decide on this.”
In its planning statement, B3 Architects said: “We believe that the mixed use proposals are in line with both local and national planning policies, and the variety of uses would help to ensure the further viability and use of the town centre, while maintaining retail use as the primary use class at ground floor level.”
Mr Ellesmere did warn, however, that it could be some time before anything happened there: “Whatever the committee decides, I fear it will be some time before we see anything major on that site, given the current state that we all find ourselves in.”
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