Fire station bid set to be turned down

SUFFOLK County Council's planning application to build a new fire station in Ipswich looks set to be turned down.Ipswich borough councillors have been advised to object to the proposed building on Yarmouth Road because of its design, which planners say is disappointing, low key and lacking in inspiration.

SUFFOLK County Council's planning application to build a new fire station in Ipswich looks set to be turned down.

Ipswich borough councillors have been advised to object to the proposed building on Yarmouth Road because of its design, which planners say is disappointing, low key and lacking in inspiration.

The application submitted on behalf of Suffolk County Council for a three-bay fire station - to replace the existing Princes Street station - would also be contrary to the borough's planning policies, a report says.

The development, which would have an associated community function and landscaping, is proposed for the site currently occupied by Lankesters Conservatories at one end and the Sikh temple at the other.


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A report going to the planning and development committee on January 3 says it is a prominent site where a development of “local landmark status” might be expected.

But it says of the proposed design: “This is not what the borough wishes to promote in such a prominent location and would perpetuate the current drab street scene.

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“There is an opportunity for a high standard piece of architecture here, a gateway feature of some scale and presence announcing the entry to the central area of town.”

The single-storey main building, with an enhanced height roof that would be the equivalent to two storeys, would primarily be made from red brick with buff brick dressings to the windows. There would also be a training tower of up to 16 metres high.

The borough council report criticises the overall appearance of the building as “bland and unimaginative”.

The proposed design of the training tower would be “detached and ungainly”, clearly visible from outside the site and of “no architectural merit”.

The design of the building housing the fire engines also does not exploit the iconic nature of fire engines, the report says.

It claims the county council's flood risk assessment refers only to early warning systems that would enable early evacuation of the site but does not consider the operational difficulties that this may cause to the fire department and the services it provides.

The report says: “To conclude, the proposal does not take the opportunity to promote an inspired building for this high profile site and the full implications of the proposal have not been addressed - there is a lack of information relating to highway issues and the sites connectivity with the surrounding area, the flood risk assessment does not fully address the siting of the station in this risky area and the provision of an educational and leisure resource within the site has not been considered.

“As such the proposal does not comply with adopted planning policies.”

The development is part of a major private finance initiative for Suffolk Fire Service.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said yesterday it would not be able to comment before Ipswich borough councillors decide on the application.

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