First details revealed of new teaching hub for Suffolk New College

The site in Rope Walk where the new teaching hub could be built Picture: ARCHANT

The site in Rope Walk where the new teaching hub could be built Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

New higher education courses currently not on offer in Ipswich could be provided in a new contemporary teaching hub in the town’s Education Quarter.

The old social club - awaiting demolition Picture: ARCHANT

The old social club - awaiting demolition Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Suffolk New College is seeking planning permission for the new modern-design building at the corner of Rope Walk and Dove Street.

The vacant site is part of a larger plot which has been home to a social club building since the 1950s.

This is set to be demolished to make way for 12 houses and two flats and four offices, but under the new plans from the college, the space for the offices would instead be used for the teaching hub.

While planning consent is being sought, the college has made a bid for funding for the project and is awaiting the outcome.

Craig Shimmon, marketing manager at Suffolk New College said: “We have recently put in a bid to acquire some funding as part of our ongoing plans to expand our offer to students. The outcome of this specific bid will be discovered in March 2019.

“We are excited about the prospect of potentially widening our curriculum as part of a partnership with the Eastern Institute of Technology – working with West Suffolk College and other colleges in the region.”

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In a report to Ipswich Borough Council’s planners, the Ben Elvin Planning Consultancy, acting for the college, said “the principle of this development is entirely appropriate

and is, in actuality, more appropriate in respect of the intended use of the site than the permission that has already been granted here”.

The building will provide additional teaching space for Suffolk New College (SNC) and provide 658 sq m of accommodation on four floors.

The report said: “The building would be used to deliver new courses that are currently not offered elsewhere in Ipswich and will be mainly higher education courses (delivered in association with University of Suffolk) and will be in digital stem subjects.

“This delivery will result in additional employment on the site but also prepare students for employment through both qualifications and skills.

“The proposal has been designed to sit comfortably with existing and approved development in the locality and to enable SNC to consolidate some of the space in their existing building for alternative purposes where there is a need for additional teaching space.”

There would be three classrooms and staff room at ground-floor level, two classrooms at first-floor with folding walls to enable flexibility/sub-division of spaces, three classrooms on the second floor and a larger classroom at third floor level.

The building would be operated and maintained by SNC and would form part of their campus.

The council is expected to make a decision on planning consent in the new year.

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