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Draft Site Allocations and Policies (incorporating IP-One Area Action Plan) Development Plan Document

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(4) Chapter 6: IP-One Area Action Plan

6.1 The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in section 2 advises that local planning authorities should set out policies for the management and growth of town centres over the plan period.

6.2 The Core Strategy provides the strategic level of policy for centres in Ipswich, particularly through policy CS2 the Location and Nature of Development and CS14 Retail Development. It defines a network of town, district and local centres; recognises the importance of Ipswich town centre as an economic driver and a focus for shopping, cultural and leisure activities, civic functions and community life; and it sets a target for retail floorspace growth. The development management policies of the Core Strategy protect the vitality and viability of centres through managing development in defined centres and outside them.

6.3 At the more detailed site level, which is the focus of this Site Allocations plan, the NPPF advises that town centre policies should:

  • Define the extent of centres and primary shopping areas;
  • Define primary and secondary frontages within designated centres;
  • Retain and enhance existing markets;
  • Allocate a range of suitable sites to meet the scale and type of retail, leisure, commercial, office, tourism, cultural, community and residential development needed; and
  • Allocate appropriate edge of centre sites for main town centre uses that are well connected to the town centre, where suitable and viable town centre sites are not available.

6.4 The Council’s vision for Ipswich town centre is contained in the Town Centre Master Plan May 2012. It combines elements of the Core Strategy vision and the Ipswich Central vision for a ‘Waterfront Town Centre’ and includes:

  • More people living and working in the town centre
  • Focusing new development on the town centre
  • Improving the shopping offer
  • Improving pedestrian links between the central shopping area and the Waterfront, Village, Education Quarter, railway station and northern gateway
  • Putting pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users first
  • Enhancing existing parks and open water and greening the streets
  • Developing the Education Quarter
  • Enhancing and increasing culture and leisure facilities
  • Creating a place that is outgoing and welcoming, vibrant and dynamic and which embraces new ideas; and
  • Reconnecting the town centre with the Waterfront

6.5 Thus this section of the plan sets out policies which:

  • Revise the Central Shopping Area boundary;
  • Define the primary, secondary and speciality shopping areas;
  • Revise the town centre boundary;
  • Define the Education Quarter and the Waterfront;
  • Allocate sites for town centre uses and town centre living;
  • Define and safeguard routes for transport proposals; and
  • Manage car parking provision in the town centre.

6.6 The NPPF defines main town centre uses as: retail; leisure (such as dance halls), entertainment, intensive sports and recreation facilities such as cinemas, restaurants, bars, night clubs, casinos, health and fitness centres, indoor bowling centres and bingo halls; offices; and arts, culture and tourism including theatres, museums, galleries, concert halls, hotels and conference facilities. In addition, living is encouraged within town centres, to improve vitality and viability outside business hours and enable sustainable lifestyles.

6.7 The need for additional development in these categories has been assessed through the evidence base, including the Ipswich Retail and Commercial Leisure Study 2010, the Town Centre Opportunity Areas Report 2013, the Employment Land Review 2009 and the Culture and Leisure Needs Analysis Study 2010-2025. The policies which follow set out the site allocations and area designations needed to help deliver the Council’s vision for the town centre.

Policy DM47: Central Shopping Area

(2) Policy DM47: Central Shopping Area

The Central Shopping Area is defined on the IP-One Area inset policies map. Within the Central Shopping Area, Core Strategy policy DM20 shall apply.

6.8 The purpose of a Central Shopping Area is to focus retail activity within a defined concentrated area and enable visitors to easily combine other activities in the centre with their shopping trip, such as meeting friends at a café, going to the bank or having a haircut. The concentration of activities benefits shoppers who wish to compare goods and prices in different shops before making their purchases or combine several activities in one trip, and retailers who want to see the maximum footfall possible outside their store. The policy approach of concentrating such activity within a defined area supports the vitality and viability of centres.

6.9 It is important that Central Shopping Area is easily accessible by walking, cycling, public transport, taxis and private cars and that, once in the centre, visitors enjoy a safe and attractive environment.

6.10 The Central Shopping Area (CSA) boundary has been refocused compared to the 1997 Local Plan boundary. Focused review Core Strategy policy CS14 Retail Development identifies the need for an extension at Westgate (the area including the former Civic Centre site and police station). The boundary has been amended to include land at Westgate to accommodate a retail allocation.

6.11 In the short term, evidence in the Town Centre Opportunity Areas report advises the Council to prioritise its support for the refurbishment and further investment of the Tower Ramparts Shopping Centre to strengthen the core of the centre. Although not providing net additional retail floorspace, investment in the Tower Ramparts Shopping Centre will help to attract further retailers and investment to the town, particularly given its prime pitch within the retail core.

6.12 Evidence in the Town Centre Opportunity Areas report is for the Central Shopping Area to be contracted in the vicinity of the Mint Quarter, as there are deliverability and viability issues with bringing forward retail development in this location for the foreseeable future. The CSA boundary is proposed to follow Cox Lane at its eastern extent and provide for predominantly residential, mixed use allocation in this location. A planning brief will be prepared for the Mint Quarter.

6.13 The Council will seek funding opportunities to make environmental enhancements to the public realm of the centre and help it to remain competitive and attractive to users. The priority for improvements during the plan period will be the Cornhill, Tavern Street and Westgate Street.

6.14 The Council’s focus identified in the Town Centre Master Plan is to strengthen the north-south axis, creating better linkages between the town centre and the Waterfront. The Town Centre Opportunity Areas report recommended a complementary role for the town centre and the Waterfront and opportunities for improving and strengthening linkages between the two. This will be supported through the delivery of site allocations along Turret Lane, Lower Brook Street, Foundation Street and the Waterfront. Retail uses on these sites should be limited to a small scale so they do not complete directly with the existing town centre offer.

6.15 In making these changes to the Central Shopping Area, the Council considers that the area’s purpose will not be compromised or weakened. Annual monitoring of town centre indicators such as shop vacancy will continue to be used to assess the town centre’s health.

Policy DM48 Primary, Secondary and Speciality Shopping Areas and Frontages

Policy DM48 Primary, Secondary and Speciality Shopping Areas and Frontages

Within the Central Shopping Area, Primary, Secondary and Speciality Shopping Areas are defined on the IP-One Area inset policies map. Within these areas, Core Strategy policy DM20 shall apply as appropriate.

6.16 Within the Central Shopping Area the Council considers that the predominant land use at ground floor level should be shops (i.e. Class A1 retailing). However, it recognises that there are other uses which complement A1 shops, which also have a role to play within the Central Shopping Area. These may include financial and professional services such as banks (class A2), cafes and restaurants (class A3), drinking establishments (class A4) hot food takeaways (class A5) and main town centre uses including leisure, entertainment, offices, arts, culture and tourism and residential uses.

6.17 Furthermore, as high street retailing has to compete increasingly with out of centre and Internet shopping, enabling an attractive range of uses to be provided with the Central Shopping Area is important to ensure vibrancy and vitality in the centre. The Council’s Town Centre Master Plan identifies the need to permit more food and drink uses in the Central Shopping Area to disperse these activities and public spaces throughout the centre.

6.18 The Central Shopping Area is therefore divided into three Shopping Areas. The Primary Shopping Area is the area where the greatest concentration of A1 retail uses is expected in accordance with Core Strategy Policy DM20. It is a relatively small area which largely coincides with the ‘prime pitch’ for retailers and it has the highest Zone A rents, yields and footfall. It includes Westgate Street - Tavern Street between Museum Street and Upper Brook Street, and the central part of the Butter Market.

6.19 The Secondary Shopping Area is generally characterised by lower rents and footfall than the Primary Area. It has a more varied character and function than the mainly retail (A1) Primary Shopping Area. Although some financial and professional services (A2) uses can be satisfactorily accommodated within Secondary Shopping Areas, high concentrations can create inactive frontages, making them less attractive and thereby reducing footfall and affecting the area’s image. Thus in these areas a greater diversity of uses is permitted by Core Strategy policy DM20, whilst maintaining the focus on A1 retail. The Secondary Shopping Areas identified on the policies map include Westgate Street west of Museum Street, Queen Street and northern Princes Street, much of Upper Brook Street and Carr Street.

6.20 The Speciality Shopping Areas are the areas in which there is found the greatest diversity of uses and the highest proportion of non-A1 uses. The A1 retail uses there tend to be in smaller units occupied by more specialist retailers. Some of the streets in this area consist of attractive historic buildings, which give them a special character, for example St Peters Street and Fore Street.

6.21 Parts of the Speciality Shopping Area also provide links from the Central Shopping Area to other focuses of activity, particularly the Waterfront and the University Campus. This is expected to support their vitality and viability.

6.22 Within each Shopping Area, shopping frontages are identified. The identified frontages usually comprise a continuous line of frontage buildings segregated by intersecting streets or other physical features which break up the building line. The extent of the shopping frontages is defined in a separate supplementary planning document. The frontages form the basis for assessing the proportion of uses in an area and are used to implement Core Strategy policy DM20.

6.23 For the purposes of the sequential approach to locating new retail development, only the primary and secondary shopping areas defined on the IP-One inset policies map through this policy would be considered ‘in town centre’ sites.

Policy DM49 Retail Site Allocation

(4) Policy DM49 Retail Site Allocation

Site IP40 (formerly IP40 and IP41, now combined) Land at Westgate is allocated for A1 retail-led mixed use development, which could include other uses provided the predominant retail use is delivered. This is the main site allocated for new large scale and large floor plate retail development during the plan period. The retail element should provide in the region of 15,000 sq m net of new retail floorspace.

6.24 The Council’s Retail and Commercial Leisure Study identified a need for additional retail floorspace in the town centre. It is needed to meet the needs of a growing population and secure the town’s position as a regional shopping centre, which can compete effectively with other centres.

6.25 However, more recent evidence in the study undertaken by DTZ to advise the Council on the delivery of additional retail floorspace in the town centre indicates that, in the current economic climate and given the pressures facing town centre retailing, the quantum of deliverable new floorspace is likely to be less than previously thought. The focus should be on strengthening the existing centre, particularly the prime pitch, prioritising sites and supporting the delivery of one scheme in a development cycle (10 years) for new retail floorspace. This evidence has informed Core Strategy focused review policy CS14, which identifies a need for in the region of 15,000 sq m of net additional retail floorspace.

6.26 Priority is given to supporting the refurbishment and further investment of the Tower Ramparts Shopping Centre to strengthen the retail core of the town centre.

6.27 Delivering new retail investment in town centres can be challenging in this economic climate, and therefore it is appropriate to plan for the delivery of one retail development within an economic cycle. The Westgate site is identified as a key opportunity to achieve this, as it is located in close proximity to the existing retail core and would build upon the existing well functioning retail centre. The focus is on ensuring delivery of a retail scheme at Westgate which would lever maximum benefit and further investment.

6.28 Therefore, the only significant new floorspace proposed is at the Westgate site. New retail floorspace here goes towards meeting the quantitative shortfall over the plan period and helps to address the qualitative deficiencies in the town centre, such as the lack of choice of large floor plate shop units. A development brief will be prepared for the Westgate site. Appendix 3 provides additional information about the site allocated through this policy.

6.29 The Mint Quarter site (referred to in the Town Centre Master Plan as the Cox Lane regeneration area) has long been earmarked for potential retail development. However, in spite of previous planning permissions (e.g. reference 91/00813/OUT granted in September 1993), retail development has not been delivered. The site still has potential for redevelopment, but there are viability and deliverability issues in achieving a major retail-led scheme over the whole site. Therefore, the best way forward currently is considered to be a residential-led scheme on the eastern half of the site and no retail allocation on the western half. This approach accords with the Council’s intention as set out in the Town Centre Master Plan and is supported by evidence in the Town Centre Opportunity Areas Study undertaken by DTZ. A development brief will be prepared to guide the redevelopment of the Mint Quarter.

6.30 The Council will support the refurbishment of the Tower Ramparts Shopping Centre to ensure it remains an attractive and vibrant component of the town’s shopping offer, given its location linking the Tower Ramparts Bus Station to the prime pitch of Tavern Street. The refurbishment will strengthen the prime pitch offer of the town.

Policy DM50 District and Local Centres within IP-One

Policy DM50 District and Local Centres within IP-One

District centres are defined on the IP-One Area inset policies map at Duke Street and Wherstead Road. Within the district centres, Core Strategy policy DM21 shall apply.

6.31 Core Strategy Policy CS2 The Location and Nature of Development identifies the district centres and their surrounding areas as a key focus for residential development and the provision of community facilities. This is to support the sustainability of new development in terms of access to shops and services. Policy DM21 protects the district centres themselves as centres for the provision of local shops and community facilities.

6.32 The centre at Wherstead Road is a long established district centre. It is well placed to serve the growing residential community on the western bank of the New Cut. The centre at Duke Street is a new centre serving the emerging residential and student community of the eastern Waterfront and Duke Street area.

Policy DM51 Town Centre Boundary

(1) Policy DM51 Town Centre Boundary

The town centre is defined on the IP-One Area inset policies map. Within the town centre but outside the Central Shopping Area, Core Strategy policy DM22 shall apply.

6.33 The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) defines a town centre as an area defined on the policies map, which includes the primary shopping area and areas predominantly occupied by main town centre uses within or adjacent to the primary shopping area. The main town centre uses are defined in paragraph 8.6 above, and in Ipswich the primary shopping area is called the Central Shopping Area.

6.34 Within the 1997 adopted Local Plan, the Ipswich town centre boundary was drawn tightly around the very centre of Ipswich, broadly within the ring formed by St Matthews St/Crown Street, Grimwade Street, Star Lane, Franciscan Way and Civic Drive. However few sites remain within that area which could accommodate new office or leisure development.

6.35 The Borough has an ambitious job creation target set in the focused review Core Strategy. As retail is the primary use within the Central Shopping Area, the town centre area beyond the Central Shopping Area is the key location for many of the other uses listed, in particular large scale leisure uses and offices.

6.36 Therefore, there is a need to extend the town centre boundary and identify the area at the centre of Ipswich where the Council wishes to concentrate development of non-retail main town centre uses. It is also vital to ensure that the town centre remains the most accessible part of the borough, because concentrating a variety of work and leisure opportunities in the town centre can make a major contribution to ensuring social inclusion in the borough through opportunities being accessible to everybody. The Government’s Practice Guidance on Need, Impact and the Sequential Approach states that it is important not to draw a town centre boundary too widely, to ensure that the main town centre uses can benefit from the centre’s accessibility by alternative means of transport, and to facilitate linked trips (para 6.13 PPS4 companion guide).

6.37 The criteria for identifying the town centre boundary are therefore predominance of main town centre uses within it, areas adjacent containing sites allocated for main town centre uses, and sites with good accessibility (within 800m of a main transport interchange). Whilst the new town centre boundary encloses a larger area than in the 1997 Ipswich Local Plan, it is slightly smaller than the very wide area identified through the IP-One Area Action Plan Preferred Options Map 2007. This is in response to objections received about ensuring the accessibility of the town centre.

6.38 This policy implements Policy CS2 of the Core Strategy, which identifies the town centre as a key location for residential development over the plan period.

Policy DM52 The Waterfront

(3) Policy DM52 The Waterfront

The Waterfront is defined on the IP-One Area inset policies map. The Waterfront remains the focus for regeneration within central Ipswich to create high quality, mixed use neighbourhoods in accordance with Core Strategy policies CS2 and CS3.

Within the Waterfront, development should contain a mix of uses. Residential, community, office, arts, culture and tourism uses will be permitted. Core Strategy policy DM30 a. shall apply in relation to residential density.

Where the Waterfront overlaps with the town centre at the northern quays, all the main town centre uses will be permitted with the exception of retail uses, applications for which will be considered against Core Strategy policy DM23.

The Education Quarter is addressed through policy DM53.

6.39 The Waterfront consists of over 80ha of land and buildings around the Wet Dock, which was completed in 1842. It includes the historic port area located to the north of the modern commercial port. It is characterised by a mix of buildings of varying scales. The Wet Dock was designated a conservation area in 1991.

6.40 The regeneration of the Waterfront as a mixed use area started in 1999 with the completion of apartments at Neptune Quay. To date, much development has been delivered, including residential and commercial uses and academic and student accommodation buildings for University Campus Suffolk.

6.41 However, a few key sites remain to be redeveloped and the recession has seen some large developments stall. Therefore the regeneration focus needs to remain on this area. The flood defence barrier is important for the release of development sites at the Waterfront (and the wider area in the flood zone). It is due for completion in March 2018.

6.42 The ‘main town centre uses’ are defined through the National Planning Policy Framework as retail, leisure, entertainment facilities, more intensive sport and recreation uses, offices, arts culture and tourism. The Waterfront extends further south than the town centre but the two areas overlap at the northern quays. Within the Waterfront, office, arts, culture and tourism uses are considered appropriate in order to support the delivery of a mixed use area, to provide some flexibility to support its continued regeneration and because the accessibility of the Waterfront is good. At the northern quays additional main town centre uses are permissible with the exception of retail uses. A key element of the Council’s strategy for the Waterfront is to ensure that it complements, but does not compete with, the shopping focus in the Central Shopping Area.

6.43 This policy helps to implement Policies CS2 and CS3 of the Core Strategy. CS2 ‘The Location and Nature of Development’ sees a focus on residential and community facility development within the Waterfront in order to support the regeneration and sustainable growth of Ipswich, and mixed use development within the town centre. CS3 identifies the importance of the Waterfront and town centre as areas within IP-One.

6.44 Parts of the Waterfront also fall within the town centre and the education Quarter. The town centre is addressed by policies DM51 in this plan and DM22 in the Core Strategy. The Education Quarter is addressed by policy DM53 in this plan.

Policy DM53 Education Quarter

(1) Policy DM53 Education Quarter

The Education Quarter is defined on the IP-One Area inset policies map, comprising the Suffolk New College campus and the University Campus Suffolk campus (and proposed primary school). Within the defined Education Quarter, development for education and ancillary uses such as student accommodation or offices will be permitted.

On sites which fall within the Education Quarter and the Waterfront, the Council would consider Waterfront uses on their merits, provided they would not compromise the ability of the University to function or expand and to meet future education needs.

Development of site reference IP049 No 8 Shed Orwell Quay will be required to include an element of public car parking in accordance with policy DM57.

6.45 University Campus Suffolk (UCS) grew from around 3,000 students in 2008/09 to over 3,900 in 2011/12. UCS makes many important contributions to the town e.g. through raising levels of educational attainment, its links with the business sector, attracting young people to locate or stay in Ipswich, adding vibrancy to the Waterfront and town centre and indirectly helping to support shops and businesses providing goods and services to students.

6.46 Suffolk New College is a tertiary college established in 2007 in new premises on Rope Walk, providing for students studying for a range of qualifications. Like UCS, it makes an important contribution to Ipswich life and to raising the levels of educational attainment amongst Ipswich residents and beyond.

6.47 The Council wishes to safeguard the Education Quarter for predominantly education uses, because of its importance to the town and the benefits that can flow from locating educational uses in close proximity. The institutions need to be able to grow and adapt over coming years. The policy allows for education uses, but also offers some flexibility for appropriate uses provided this would not compromise future use or expansion for education purposes.

6.48 The co-location of knowledge-based businesses in close proximity to the University campus is recognised by the Council as important consideration, therefore the policy would allow for spin-off businesses to locate within the Education Quarter. This would also help to support the institution’s success in placing its graduates into employment.

6.49 Ancillary uses are those uses which have a functional relationship with the main education use, for example a university bookshop in the context of retail development. Proposals for retail development within the Education Quarter will be considered in relation to retail policies of this plan and the Core Strategy.

6.50 The need for an element of public car parking at site reference IP049 which falls within the Education Quarter and the Waterfront was identified through the Town Centre Master Plan. Development principles for the Education Quarter are set out in Chapter 7 (see ‘Opportunity Area D’).

Policy DM54 Arts, Culture and Tourism

(2) Policy DM54 Arts, Culture and Tourism

The Council will support the retention and enhancement of existing facilities providing arts, cultural and tourism facilities, including visitor accommodation. Alternative uses will only be considered where it can be demonstrated that the current use is either being satisfactorily relocated or is unviable or that the new use complements the arts, culture and tourism sectors and supports the vitality and viability of the town centre. Retail development would need to satisfy policy DM23.

New facilities for arts, culture or tourism including accommodation will be supported where they are focused within the town centre boundary or within the Waterfront area.

Where new arts, culture and tourism facilities or visitor accommodation are proposed in locations outside the town centre or Waterfront, planning permission will only be granted in accordance with policy DM22.

The Council will support the creation of a purpose built, multi-purpose space on the Waterfront which will be either a stand alone facility, or part of a mixed use development, capable of providing flexible conference and exhibition space.

6.51 The town has a wealth of arts, cultural and heritage assets, which enrich the lives of Ipswich residents and bring in a significant number of visitors. There are approximately 2.6 million day visitors per year and 1.0 million longer stay visitors, including those from overseas and the rest of the UK (Ipswich Town Centre Master Plan 2012). They support directly and indirectly a significant number of full and part-time jobs.

6.52 Focussing art, cultural and tourism uses within the town centre will aid in the delivery of the spatial strategy for sustainable growth through urban renaissance, by making the best use of previously developed land, by putting facilities in close proximity to those who need them, and by providing regeneration opportunities to key strategic town centre sites, thus enhancing the vitality and vibrancy of the central area. It also accords with national planning policy for ‘main town centre uses’.

6.53 The Council’s intention is to support the diverse nature of arts, cultural and heritage facilities in Ipswich, by allowing improvements to existing facilities. These assets support employment in a fast growing sector, and generate economic activity which in turn supports town centre regeneration, and provides cultural diversity and choice for those living in and visiting Ipswich. Arts, cultural and heritage assets contribute to the vitality and viability of the town centre by providing attractions and facilities which are complementary to the main retail and employment function, and can be easily accessed.

6.54 The English Tourism Board has indicated that Tourism is worth £5 billion a year to the Eastern Region, with the tourism sector now employing 185,000 people. Tourism is one of the main components of the visitor economy and it has been identified as one of the fastest growing sectors of the global economy. Visitor accommodation is integral to the provision of jobs growth in Ipswich, and as such the provision of quality accommodation for a wide variety of visitor needs will support the objectives of policy CS13.

6.55 Policy CS4 identifies the Council’s commitment to protecting and enhancing the Borough’s heritage of built, historic and natural assets including listed buildings, museums, parks and gardens and the river corridor. The cultural activity associated with these assets provides a crucial link with the visitor economy and should therefore be maintained and enhanced to ensure that this offer remains attractive. The Council’s Town Centre Master Plan (2012) identifies improved facilities for performance arts, arts, museums and heritage, public art and events as areas to support.

6.56 The Council will therefore be supportive of:

  • Improvements to Ipswich Museum and adjacent buildings, including Ipswich Art School, Wolsey Studio, and High Street Exhibition Gallery;
  • the New Wolsey Theatre, Corn Exchange and Regent Theatre;
  • Christchurch Mansion and Park; and
  • the creation of a multi-purpose exhibition and conference facility, which could include a live entertainment venue, at the Waterfront.

6.57 The Council will also support street performance and ‘pop-up’ temporary facilities related to cultural events and festivals in appropriately located public spaces and vacant premises, where they do not prejudice other Local Plan policies.

6.58 High quality arts and cultural facilities play an important role in attracting and retaining residents to the town. The IBC Culture and Leisure Needs Study 2010-2025 found that quality provision and a thriving arts and cultural scene can help to increase a town’s appeal to students selecting a university and retain graduates on completion of their degree due to their positive experiences. It is seen that the encouragement of street theatre and performance in the town centre would help to develop awareness of, and exposure to, the arts, and therefore be of benefit to the visitor economy.

Policy DM55 Improving Pedestrian and Cycle Routes

6.59 The Local Transport Plan for Suffolk 2011-2031 identifies the following key issues for Ipswich:

  • Road condition
  • Urban realm improvements
  • Tackling congestion
  • Modernisation of bus stations
  • Reducing separation between town centre and waterfront
  • Better facilities for walking and cycling
  • Stronger neighbourhoods
  • Longer term – crossing for improved access to wet dock island site
  • Town centre masterplan
  • A14 improvements
  • Ipswich – Transport fit for the 21st Century
  • Extensive Air Quality Management Areas
  • A14 Orwell Bridge and Seven Hills Interchange Congestion

6.60 The following policies set out a land use response to those which are relevant to the IP-One area.

(3) Policy DM55 Improving Pedestrian and Cycle Routes

The Council will support improvements to pedestrian and cycle routes within the town centre and linking the town centre to residential areas and beyond. It will seek opportunities to deliver the following specific improvements through safeguarding routes where necessary, new developments and/or seeking funding opportunities:

  • The provision of safe cycle and pedestrian access across the lock gates at the entrance to the Wet Dock to create a circular route;
  • The provision of a new foot and cycle bridges across the new Cut linking Stoke Quay to St Peter’s Wharf and the Island site to Mather Way;
  • An improved pedestrian environment on key walking routes from the Waterfront to the Central Shopping Area - Turret Lane, Lower Brook Street, Foundation Street and Lower Orwell Street;
  • Improved pedestrian links through Cardinal Park linking the station and Central Shopping Area;
  • Enhanced walking and cycling links between the railway station and the Waterfront via the river path;
  • Improved pedestrian and cycle links from Handford Road to Sir Alf Ramsey Way;
  • Improved pedestrian and cycle routes linking St Matthew’s Church, the New Wolsey Theatre, Westgate Street and the proposed cultural hub at High Street; and
  • The pedestrianisation of Princes Street North, Queen Street and Upper Brook Street.

6.61 Travel Ipswich is a £21m package of measures including traffic management and the promotion of smarter travel choices such as bus, walking and cycling. Due for completion in 2014, it aims to achieve a 15% switch to more sustainable modes, to enable Ipswich to accommodate planned growth without corresponding growth in congestion. This will see some improvements made to walking routes from the railway station via Princes Street to the Central Shopping Area.

6.62 However, other improvements are also needed as listed in the policy, providing links across water or enhancing routes between key nodes or improving the pedestrian and cyclist environment. The Council will work with developers and landowners to deliver new routes and improvements to existing routes.

6.63 The Town Centre Master Plan states that accessibility to and around the town centre for walking and cycling is fair but there is a need to increase the quality and safety of routes, to improve information and to provide more facilities for crossing the busy roads at the edge of the central area. It recommends making Star Lane more pedestrian friendly and easier to cross and improving links for pedestrians between the Waterfront and Town Centre.

Policy DM56 Transport Proposals in IP-One

(4) Policy DM56 Transport Proposals in IP-One

A route shown on the IP-One Area inset policies map is safeguarded for the provision of a new Wet Dock Crossing, linking Toller Road in the east with Mather Way in the west. The route will facilitate access to the Island Site and provide for through traffic. Its design shall maintain boat access through the lock and navigation along the New Cut.

Upon completion of the crossing, the Star Lane Gyratory will be reduced to one lane in each direction to facilitate pedestrian access between the Waterfront and Central Shopping Area, linked to improvements to north-south pedestrian and cycle routes between the two areas.

6.64 The geography of central Ipswich is such that vehicular movement between its eastern and western sides is constrained by the mediaeval core and the existence of the Wet Dock. This limits options for such movements and means that the Star Lane Gyratory is a key east-west corridor. However, it causes several problems including congestion, poor air quality12 and a physical barrier to pedestrian movement between the Waterfront and the Central Shopping Area.

6.65 The Ipswich Waterfront Study 2007 suggested reducing the Gyratory to one lane in each direction13. However, the Council concluded that it could be supported only if a compensatory alternative east west route could be found. Through the Core Strategy Policy CS20, the Council has identified the aspiration to achieve this in the form of a Wet Dock Crossing, providing access to the Island Site and a route for through traffic. Core Strategy paragraph 8.233 addresses access to the Island Site, which as a minimum will require a road bridge from the west bank to the Island Site and a pedestrian and cycle bridge across the Wet Dock lock gates to enable any significant development. The proposal is included as an aspiration in the Local Transport Plan.

Policy DM57 Town Centre Car Parking

(4) Policy DM57 Town Centre Car Parking

The Council will pursue a town centre car parking policy with the twin aims of supporting the economy of the town centre and limiting congestion, through supporting the Travel Ipswich measures and encouraging the use of sustainable modes of transport.

To this end, a Central Car Parking Core is identified on the IP-One inset policies map. Within this area, Core Strategy Policy DM18 shall apply.

Sites are allocated for medium sized multi storey car parks providing additional short stay shopper and visitor parking at:

  1. IP055 Crown Street (on the existing Crown car park site), and
  2. IP048 Mint Quarter.

It is also expected that development at IP049 No 8 Shed Orwell Quay will provide public car parking. Development at IP054 Turret Lane (east side) could also include a short stay multi-storey car park for public use.

A site IP015 is allocated for long stay commuter car parking at West End Road. This will replace surface parking currently provided at West End Road and also that at Portman Road if it is not replaced on site.

Proposals for additional temporary car parks within the town centre will not be permitted. Proposals to renew existing planning consents for temporary short stay public parking within the town centre will not be permitted when the permanent provision allocated above has been delivered.

6.66 Promoting sustainable transport choices is important to tackle congestion in Ipswich and its associated disadvantages for businesses, the environment and human health. It is also important for equality and inclusion, as 27.8% of Ipswich households do not have access to a car or van (2011 Census ONS Table KS404EW) and therefore it is important that public transport services can be sustained through high levels of use. Car parking policies are an important tool, alongside other planning and transport measures, to promote sustainable transport choices.

6.67 At the same time, providing sufficient car parking of good quality in the right places is essential to support the vitality and viability of the Central Shopping Area and enable it to compete with other centres, out of centre shops and Internet shopping.

6.68 It is important to weigh the need to control car parking in Ipswich town centre with the need to support the town centre economy. Ipswich town centre also serves a rural hinterland where car ownership is higher and public transport services are less available. In the three adjacent districts to Ipswich, the average percentage of households with no car or van available is only 13.1%.

6.69 Public car parking provision within central Ipswich at April 2013 is as follows. This excludes public on street spaces and long stay parking for employees provided by private companies such as AXA.

Table 7 Car parking provision in central Ipswich

Address IBC or private ownership Permanent / temporary Number of spaces
SHORT STAY PARKING
Crown Street IBC P 236
William Street IBC P 77
Tower Ramparts NCP P 103
Spiral Britannia Parking P 350
Wolsey / Black Horse Lane Britannia Parking P 120
Cromwell Square IBC P 64
Buttermarket Centre Buttermarket Shopping P 420
Cardinal Park Private P 612
Foundation Street NCP P 513
Cox Lane NCP P 182 + 260
Cox Lane / Upper Barclay Street IBC P 30
Fore Street (adjacent baths) IBC P 30
Slade Street / Key Street Private T 133
Grafton Way former goods yard and former B & Q car park Private T 165 (from plng app 13/00295)
Former Essex Furniture, Star Lane Private T 69 (from plng app 12/00350)
St Peter’s Warehouse, College Street (12/00780) RCP T 95
Paul’s Malt Silo (12/00752) Private T 157
North Rose Lane / Turret Lane (13/00179) NCP T 36
South Rose lane Private P 21
Cobden Place IBC P 25
Regent Car Park Cobden Place IBC P 62
The Mill Private P 130
Total short stay 3890
Of which temporary short stay 655
LONG STAY PARKING
New Portman Road IBC P 563
New Portman Road NCP P 65
Portman Rd/Sir Alf Ramsey Way IBC P 55
Great Gipping Street IBC P 132
Duke Street (Shed 8) Public UCS P 300
Ipswich Village car park, West End Road IBC P 329
Princes Street / Chalon Street RCP T 90
Bond Street IBC P 20
Burrell Road Private P 130
Ipswich Station NCP P 436
Total long stay 2120
Of which temporary long stay 90 spaces
Total 6010

Sources://www.ipswich.gov.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=713
http://en.parkopedia.co.uk/parking/ipswich/

6.70 The Retail and Commercial Leisure Study 2010 included both trader and shopper surveys of Ipswich town centre. The responses indicated that parking costs are considered too high by traders (66% rated the cost of car parking as poor or very poor) and by shoppers (14.1% said that lower car parking charges would encourage them to use Ipswich town centre more – the most frequently cited improvement by shoppers). Shoppers also identified a need for additional short stay parking. There is clearly a perception from users that Ipswich town centre needs more and cheaper car parking to enable it to compete. Since the 2010 study, Ipswich Borough Council has reduced the cost of short stay car parking in its own car parks.

6.71 The policy aims to strike an appropriate balance between providing sufficient, correctly priced car parking to encourage shoppers and visitors into Ipswich town centre, without adding to the burden of congestion or undermining sustainable travel options. Whilst short stay temporary car parking has been allowed on a number of sites awaiting redevelopment within the town centre, it is considered that any more would undermine work to encourage mode switching through Travel Ipswich. Therefore the policy does not permit additional provision of such car parking.

6.72 The National Planning Policy Framework states that local authorities should seek to improve the quality of parking in town centres and set appropriate parking charges that do not undermine the vitality of town centres. The Town Centre Master Plan recommends that long stay parking should continue to be provided in the Waterfront and Village, and short stay parking at Tacket Street, the Waterfront East and Crown Car Park.

6.73 Evidence from the DTZ Town Centre Opportunity Site Study supports the provision of short stay car parking at Crown Street as best serving the prime pitch shopping area. The allocation at Turret Lane will serve both proposed office development within the site and cultural and leisure facilities at the Waterfront.

6.74 The number of spaces to be provided at the sites allocated will be determined in relation to the delivery of additional floorspace in the town centre for the main town centre uses and spaces being lost to redevelopment. Short stay parking is that which provides for shoppers or leisure visitors visiting the town centre for part of a day or evening, whilst long stay parking is whole-day parking for workers. The difference is usually established by the location and pricing structure of the car park. For the Borough Council’s own car parks, short stay is usually considered to be anything up to four hours’ stay.


12 See IBC website; www.ipswich.gov.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?categoryid=413&documentid=95 13 Ipswich Waterfront Transport Study, 2007, Suffolk County Council. Core Document Library reference ICD29
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