Red light for new development

A MULTI-million pound development in Ipswich which included shops, a hotel and sheltered housing has been thrown out by borough planners, it emerged today.

A MULTI-million pound development in Ipswich which included shops, a hotel and sheltered housing has been thrown out by borough planners, it emerged today.

Council officers had recommended St George's House - which would have been built in St Matthew's Street between Berners Street and St George's Street - be given the go-ahead.

But a planning committee overwhelmingly rejected the application, citing concerns over the suitability of housing elderly people close to a busy roundabout and road network.

Councillors also raised question marks over the potential difficulties involved in lorries making large deliveries to the facility.

Residents living nearby had previously issued a formal objection to the project, principally concerning the scale of the development, which would have been six storeys in height, dwarfing the neighbouring two or three-storey properties.

They also argued there had been a lack of consultation and said the design lacked quality - a particular worry given its location on one of the arterial routes into the town centre.

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Planners deferred the application earlier this year in order that a site visit could be carried out.

The development had been planned to replace the crumbling 1960s building that currently houses, among other businesses, Blockbuster DVD rental and the British Heart Foundation shop.

The plans included a 125-room budget style hotel, ground-floor shops and very sheltered accommodation for frail people, enabling them to live near the heart of the town.

The project was being promoted by a group of investors who have formed St George's House LLB.

Nobody from the group was available for comment today.

What would you like to see built on the site? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.