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House being turned into 14 flats could 'destroy' quiet corner of Christchurch Park, residents claim

The house in Park Road, Ipswich, close to Christchurch Park, which is set to be converted into 14 flats. Picture: ROWELL BELL

The house in Park Road, Ipswich, close to Christchurch Park, which is set to be converted into 14 flats. Picture: ROWELL BELL

Archant

Transforming a house into 14 flats could "destroy" a quiet corner of Christchurch Park, residents fear - despite a developer's assurance it would not affect the area.

The large six-bedroom detached red brick house in Park Road, Ipswich already has planning permission for the conversion, which was awarded in 2007.

Changes to the internal layout of the plans were also approved in 2016.

However Eyton Developments is now applying for further changes provide a total of 17 car parking spaces - 10 more than originally planned.

It wants to put a bin store and cycle shelter in different places and increase the size of an already approved extension by 10% to provide better access to some of the flats.

A statement from Ipswich-based Last and Tricker Partnership, agent for the development, said: “The design of the extension is as already approved, only glimpsed views of the existing house are seen from Christchurch Park and the character of the park is not changed by this proposal.

“The application makes efficient use of the opportunity in times of a national shortage of housing.”

However residents have opposed the latest plans, which were due to be discussed at last week’s Ipswich Borough Council planning and development committee meeting but will now be debated on April 24.

Neighbour Rowell Bell, who lives in nearby Henley Road, said: “I think it’s going to destroy the views and destroy a quiet corner of Christchurch Park.

“You’re going to have at least 14 people. They’ll be coming and going and causing a disturbance.

“That will no longer be a quiet corner of the park. It will no longer be a beautiful backdrop to the park.”

He also believes it would be “destroying a bit of history”, as the house dates back to 1913.

In a design and access statement prepared for the planning application, Last and Tricker Partnership said: “The only external changes proposed as part of this application are the modest extensions to the already approved footprint.

“The design and materials of these extensions will respect the character and setting of the existing building.

“The alterations proposed by the application will therefore not have any material impact on the character of the application building or the character and appearance of the conservation area.”

Last and Tricker Partnership also said there would be new trees and hedges would be planted.

However Oliver Holmes, Liberal Democrat borough councillor for St Margaret’s ward, believes the development will cause “significant harm” to the park.

“No-one wants to stop new homes coming into Ipswich. A major problem that we have in Ipswich is that we don’t have enough good housing supply.

“However at the same time people live in these areas because people like them. If there are going to be changes, they’ve got to help enhance the area rather than take away from it.”

He also fears there are few large houses in Ipswich and that those left need protecting.

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