This week SPS submitted its response to an application for a new primary school and nursery in Carr Street, Ipswich. We have no issue with this idea in principle, although others are questioning the need and the practicality of a new school in such a central town location. We also welcome the intention to improve this end of Carr Street which has become run down following the closure of so many retail outlets including the old Co-operative.
However this application is proposing the demolition of the historic Co-operative buildings which we think will be a huge loss to the character and history of this part of the town. We are not alone in seeing the value of these buildings. Ipswich Borough Council itself rates them so highly that they are included in their list of local heritage. Their 2020 local listing report states that they are included for their architectural and landmark value and their illustration of the prominence of the Co-operative movement in the 19th and 20th centuries.
So, whilst we do not deny that Carr Street needs to move forward, it should not be at the expense of Ipswich’s heritage. SPS strongly urges that the buildings are retained – either another site should be found or local plan policy which requires that the facades of the existing buildings are retained, should be followed.
If however, Ipswich BC cannot see a way to save these important buildings then we call on them to ensure that the highest quality of design for the replacement buildings is delivered.