Closed Ipswich care home could be turned into student accommodation
A former Ipswich care home deemed “not fit for purpose” could be turned into accommodation for growing numbers of University of Suffolk students.
However there are fears the plans, submitted to Ipswich Borough Council, could damage a conservation area near Christchurch Park.
Fiona Fisk, academic registrar at the University of Suffolk, said it welcomed the plans “at a time when the university has aspirations to grow and additional student accommodation will be required”.
The Victorian house was closed as a care home last year, with Ormonde trustee Phil Oliver saying in a letter: “We had been aware for some time that, as an old converted town house, the restrictions imposed by such a building was putting a strain on our team of managers and staff in delivering the high standards of care that we sought to achieve and that we felt our residents had the right to expect.”
Mr Oliver added the frailty of residents coming into the home was “much higher than had previously been the case and beyond what the building could provide”, with its narrow corridors and irregular shaped rooms.
The building has now been bought by Hearthstone Properties, with company directors Joel and Asia Jordan looking to renovate the property and work with the university to provide student accommodation.
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The plans submitted would create 12 single bedrooms with bathrooms, four single bedrooms with toilets and two communal showers and toilets, along with two lounges and three kitchens.
It will be designated as a “quiet house”, with rules including no smoking, no parties and a curfew between 11pm and 8am.
Students’ tenancy agreements will also ban them having cars.
The applicants argue noise disturbance would be “very unlikely”, because the house is set back from the road.
However according to the planning statement by the developers, Ipswich Borough Council officers have raised concerns about “adverse impacts on the conservation area”.
Those fears have been echoed by St Margaret’s ward councillor Oliver Holmes, who said: “Quite rightly, a lot of residents feel this is a conservation area and that this will not enhance the conservation area.
“I can’t imagine that students would want to live half a mile away from the university.”
However the applicants have argued that the conservation area will be “actually enhanced through bringing back into use a building which has outlived its purpose”.