New flats near station

RANELAGH Road looks set to join in with the Ipswich Village development with news today of an application for a 71-apartment block near the train station.

RANELAGH Road looks set to join in with the Ipswich Village development with news today of an application for a 71-apartment block near the train station.

Weston Homes plc, which has just begun work on an apartment block in the town's Fore Hamlet, has now applied to the borough council for permission to build on the former Pooleys Yard in Ranelagh Road.

For many years the building and site almost opposite the Ancaster Road bridge have stood empty and if planning permission is granted it will once again return the site to a residential area.

An application was submitted by Essex-based Weston Homes on Friday to build 71 units on Ranelagh Road but a company spokeswoman told The Evening Star: "As the application has just been made it is too early to comment on the progress at this stage."

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And along with the Ranelagh Road scheme, another area has been identified as having potential as prime development land under the Area Action Plan.

Head of planning at the borough council, Mike Smith said the stretch of riverside land from the skatepark, along Grafton Way and to Princes Street would lend itself to mixed use.

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The area which includes B&Q, The Fabric Warehouse and Carpetright plus the units currently using the former MFI building on the edge of Princes Street have been earmarked for possible future development.

Mr Smith, said: "The stretch is close to the town centre and with a riverside setting it lends itself very well to being suitable for how we see the future of Ipswich.

"No proposals have yet been made for any part of this area and nothing would be done until any of the leases were up on the tenants currently occupying any of the properties.

"But under the Area Action Plan which involves the council and East of England Development Agency (EEDA), this part of Ipswich is seen as part of the town's future with mixed use. The Ipswich Village boundaries have been extended to incorporate this part of town and it is a very exciting prospect."

"The planning department and the Area Action Plan can only help identify areas as being suitable, we then have to wait for interested developers to come forward with their ideas," Mr Smith added.

As announced in yesterday's Evening Star, B&Q is closing its store on Grafton Way in January the day before it opens a superstore at Ransomes Europark, its second in Ipswich.

B&Q is already looking for someone to take the property and car park over meaning that redevelopment of this part of Ipswich Village could be underway as soon as there is a taker.

Mr Smith said Ipswich is heading in the right direction of providing high density living accommodation, light commerce and retail.

"The more sites that become available the easier it is to continue with what people want and that is clearly lots of town centre living space.

"Inhabiting the town centre is what is wanted and although this latest stage along the river could be a long way off completion we are sure it will happen," he added.

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