Ipswich: ‘Unacceptably plain’ plans for new 24-bedroom hotel off Yarmouth Road

PLANS for an “unacceptably plain and uninteresting” new hotel in central Ipswich are set to be turned down by the borough planning committee next week.

The “very weak” designs are for a 24-bedroom hotel lodge on land off Yarmouth Road, next to the new Mermaid public house.

In a report to the Ipswich Borough Council Planning and Development Control Committee ahead of its session at Grafton House, officers say the proposals do not “respect or acknowledge” the visual prominence of the site.

In a planning statement, applicants Marstons Inns & Taverns said: “The Yarmouth Road site has been vacant for a number of years and recently purchased by Marstons Inns & Taverns for the development of a Public House and further use.

“The site is a triangular shape with Yarmouth Road and London Road being the main frontage and bounded by the River Gipping.

“The site itself has had a number of previous uses including a dairy and a place of worship as well as a sales area for conservatories.

“All of these uses have ceased and the site laid vacant for some period of time.

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A supporting planning statement from agents Cerda adds: “At the heart of this proposal is a carefully designed, sensitively laid out scheme which makes the best use of the positive characteristics of the site and the immediate context whilst addressing site constraints.”

However, after assessing the details, officers have concluded that the proposals should be refused as it fails to satisfy the demands of local planning policies of the core strategy and development plan.

Their report says: “The plain design of the proposed building does not respect or acknowledge the visual prominence of the site close to the four-way road junction which acts as one of the main gateways to the central area of the town. Similarly, it presents an unacceptably plain and uninteresting face towards the riverside path, thereby diminishing visual amenity.

“The proposal has been designed-down to a bare minimum of detail and the absence of any visual articulation is unacceptable for such a building in such a prominent location.”

It concludes: “Whilst the proposal also represents an appropriate use in this location and would be acceptable having regard to flood risk and highway safety the design of the building is very weak, particularly in such a prominent location and this renders the proposal unacceptable.”

The committee members will make a final decision during the meeting at 9.30am on Wednesday.