Grafton Way Proposal

Discussion in 'Ipswich Waterfront' started by wrightie, Oct 21, 2017.

  1. wrightie

    wrightieFounder Member

    Messages:
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    I have just found some finalised renderings of the Grafton Way proposal. I created a post on The Ipswich Proposal. Though I try to be neutral and just document the proposal, I had to stop being myself from ranting. Here are the renderings. Personally, I think think this design is hideous. Dont get me wrong I'm all for some colour but... Look at it... not to mention the tower...

    Untitled.png lg_155568_636398710287330000.jpg

    This has got to be the worst designed, least appropriate and ugliest development Ipswich has seen. Not to mention no landscaping or integration to the river path. The pedestrian walkway connecting the path to the Princes Street Bridge is inadequate. There is no suggestion of road improvements, further more there are to be six restaurants. SIX, all of which will be in direct competition with Cardinal park... which is not cut off by a heavily congestion artery road. Rant over, I thought the initial sketches were just that, but nope, that was the actual design. The Ipswich Society are somewhat opposing it http://www.ipswichsociety.org.uk/newsletter/newsletter-october-2017-issue-209/planning-matters/
     
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    • dan5

      dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

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      Damn, it will sure get noticed!!! Thanks for posting, I wasn't aware about this part of it - only the aerial sketches etc.

      I am not sure why you would want a retail frontage on to Grafton Way!

      What I would say is it is really kind of them to finance the surfacing of the public highway.

      Ipswich Society snippet as on the above link:-

      Talking of Ipswich Society and architecture... the awards next month... very limited contenders for good design practice.

      I will read your post then comments some more! :D
       
    • dan5

      dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

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      I think you did well to write that as neutral as possible without turning it into a rant criticising the scheme.

      Broadly what I don't like about it is:-
      • Design
      • Location
      • Impracticality
      • Ramp
      • Lack of "public realm"
      • Contrast to previous concepts for that plot
      • Limitation of site
      • Everything!
      Where do I start?! Well... This road will increase in traffic with the Upper Orwell Crossings. The official route will be via Copdock Interchange and not Wherstead junction, therefore traffic must come through:-
      1. Ranelagh Road/Burrell Road,
      2. West End Road/Grafton Way,
      3. Handford Road/Civic Drive/Franciscan Way or
      4. West End Road/Princes Street/Franciscan Way.
      Of course traffic will also make it through Bury Road and Sproughton Road. Routes 3 & 4 are likely to be cars and vans avoiding the HGVs, with Routes 1 & 2 probably favoured by lorries... Ranelagh Road especially for those coming down Hadleigh Road, and West End Road for vehicles from Norwich Road or Bramford Road accessing from Yarmouth Road junction.

      This is before factoring in the housing on site or any other developments, I can joke about Enterprise Island housing too!
       
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      • dan5

        dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

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        (Continued... ) I find it bizarre that we will have a continuation of the small industrial-retail area on the end which will remain as such for a while, then 10-15 years later will be developed into something which doesn't match this development, likely by a different land owner. I don't understand why the potential housing tenants would want the restaurants there and to be next to the industrial area. I know the wet dock is hyped up, but really, the best part is the land they don't have... close to the railway station.

        Actually, the whole riverside apartments/homes pissed me off a great deal. It will add 20% onto the price... the waterfront on a nice day with the floating caravans looks pretty nice if there is no litter... (spoiled by the students of course lol) but the River Orwell after Stoke Bridge is disgusting. Why would you want to be that close? You can understand why they have that ugly tower position there, so you can get a view of the waterfront area... I would be surprised if many got such a decent view, probably jumping out getting sick of seeing the crumbling apartment blocks at the waterfront! Except, the amount of pollution you will breathe in being so close to Bridge Street. The mind boggles!

        The ramp is perfectly acceptable... next to a motorway or trunk road away from housing and a town centre. Ramp not suitable for where they want to install it. Where aesthetics are more important than just function.

        Unfortunately thanks to you Jordan I know what could have been on that site :D which makes this design a little more than disappointing. It is depressing. Yes, the design is bold. You will most certainly notice it. It is like the specification was sent out to 5 different architects, and the client chose their favourite feature from each of the designs. Maybe that is design nowadays, contrast rather than complimenting. It is all likely to be poorly constructed and a couple of years will see problems with it. The tower looks like it will easily become dated. I don't understand the balconies. Count the cars?

        When I read about the plans I assumed the towers were a hotel. Clearly in this photo they are apartments. I am not sure if it is a requirement for a gym every time you build something these days, it seems to be the case. Must be 5 within 10 minutes walking distance. Plus this one proposed and the one in BHS proposed. The number of gyms must surely push prices up for membership.

        So beyond tacky riverside apartments and homes, next to industrial/retail park, an out of place ramp, with a gym and hotel... and not to forget your boy racers which haunt this area of town racing around and hanging outside McDs... they are trying to become an extension of Cardinal Park - which is logical - except there is a road in the way and inadequate pedestrian crossing to access it (end of the road, lights shouldn't be there so close to a roundabout and the crossing further up).

        It will encourage people to cross the road anywhere they feel like it (the road will become much more busier than it currently is) and the restaurants are bang on the pavement. It isn't a single shop or restaurant, six of them, which will obviously attract people in big numbers at peak times. Someone is going to be pushed into the path of a vehicle. It is the law to serve alcohol, this will be an over-spill of the Cardinal Park problems. It will be like closing time at Zest, people staggering in the road. There is no safety measures, the council no longer do railings as it is ugly and you wouldn't want them in the way of your development. But we are talking bang-for-your-buck development... You can clearly see the importance of fitting everything in on the site - and it appears gyms and hotels are goodwill token gestures in the eyes of the council.

        Is a 60 bed hotel a joke? A few minutes from the rail station... I still think they needed to acquire the industrial part and phase the development. It is basically just another housing development, a tiny hotel and gym just for the council to say yes, and the restaurants because it is nearby somewhere which has restaurants which makes commercial sense. All badly implemented. Not sure why they didn't implement a local centre (shops) too which would catch footfall from the station, probably could serve the Princes Street office corridor and Russell Road council offices.
         
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        wrightie

        wrightieFounder Member

        Messages:
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        I agree.

        All the area along the river, and possibly behind Grafton House should have a masterplan, even if built on in stages. Surely a mid density development with public realms, a landscaped river path but mixed use would be the best option. Look at the Kings Cross development in London, though its on a much larger area of land, residential, unusually for London, takes a back seat. No high rise, but paved squares, mix of retail and venues. This is the perfect land to do this, build mostly next to the road, creating squares and parks from Stoke Bride to Yarmouth/Handford Road. Essentially a continuation of the waterfront, but how it should have been done. A mix of leisure/ bars even galleries. The Uni could expand... Possibly not. A mixed use masterplan would also aide the Princes Street development

        I'm not against high/rises skyscrapers, but firstly the design for this one, has no design. Square blocks, rounded by some awful balconies. But the potential for the whole area is too great for this surely... Money speaks I suppose. The one thing they had to get right was a river path... and by looking at the plans, its seems it going to be left as a dirt or paved trail with housing along it!!!

        There was a plan to do what I just said, though more high dense, prior to the first Tesco proposal.

        Riverside - Philip Kassanis

        Princes Sqare, Ipswich: towards a design - Philip Kassanis

        And yet, we get stuck with an awful tower, a ghastly hotel, and predicable tripe that is often confused for modern housing...

        I really really hope this does not get built.
         
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        • OP
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          wrightie

          wrightieFounder Member

          Messages:
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          I forgot to add this into the post but behind the industerial retail units next to Princes Street, these are going to be built as part of the proposal
          2017-07-18-5-e1500402272481.png
          Looking towards Princes Street Bridge. So the development will go from mid density, to low density, to high? Its all a mess.
           
        • dan5

          dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

          Messages:
          2,128
          Well, funny you should say that Jordan. Russell Road offices are part of "Ipswich Village" (this was pre-waterfront hype, signifying the initial settlement... a nearby park carries the name) I am not too sure the extent of this terminology, but I believe it includes the football stadium, the malthouse and car park (renamed Ipswich Village, now is back to West End Road I think), Commercial Road (Grafton Way & Cardinal Park), AXA, BT etc. So I assume Princes Street office corridor is part of the Ipswich Village development.

          The old Local Plan identified the area "[EMP2] Russell Road/Princes Street/Commercial Road Area;" as employment land. Except this proposed development is mostly residential... I am sure the planning policy has changed since this plan was put together but shows the town is lacking a "plan". This Ipswich Village was scheduled for completion in 2016 (and I think that was possibly a revised date).

          It was something I identified about having a faculty of the university on this site due to close proximity to the railway station which ticks boxes for both forms of public transport - trains and buses which have good coverage in this area (i.e. the bus gate near fire station and Cardinal Park where applicable - coaches here too). It would only be a few minute walk from this part to the main "campus" which likes to be spread out! Actually, this land is nowhere near large enough in its entirety for an uni campus, however, at the same time it is big enough to attempt one as an extension. I also think this is a better location for student accommodation considering the students rely on off-campus food outlets and the like... close to Cardinal Park and the waterfront end where the vast majority of the restaurants are. In a similar fashion, if they planned the university properly, they could have achieved more properly.

          With actual planning this could be good. Just think what they managed with the Fisons building (other than letting it of course). A multi-storey car park wouldn't go amiss either. The council wants to build on Portman Road car parks, this leaves Ipswich with a significant shortage of car parks and I am not referring to for a football match!

          I must admit at quick glimpse it wasn't the tower what initially got my eye and disgust. It looked relatively rounded, until I looked at it for more than a split second and it is an ugly square block utilising glass balconies to make it appears as if it was round.

          You expect such architecture in London. Well, I say this, until recent times the local authorities were against any tall rise and specific architecture in the capital, even when you allow the rules on not obstructing views to the cathedral etc. Canary Wharf was one of the most noticeable exceptions - zoned away from the heart of the city - but within reach. Until then it was like Ipswich where one architectural gem (Willis Building) was enough (slight exaggeration for London) and wouldn't want anything to compete with it. This dated attitude had to change in London. (On a side note, Canary Wharf was one of busiest docks in London, you could draw comparisons with Ipswich's wet dock if allowing for scale reference, except instead of zoning high rise offices, residential, shops and leisure, here we settled for residential. )


          *** We shouldn't forget that despite the flood zone (when did that stop anyone building?) the land potentially up for development in Ipswich at the infancy of the waterfront project and at the latter time of the last local plan, was everything to the east of Vernon St, Hawes St and Wherstead Road (north of the rail spur), everything to the west of Fore Hamlet and Holywells Rd, the island site, most plots south of Star Lane, everything south of Rope Walk (i.e. the Suffolk College Site), most land between Princes Street and Franciscan Way & Greyfriars Road, Commercial Road to Burrell Road, most land between Portmans Walk and Ranelagh Road, the land between Portman Road and Princes Street/Civic Drive, land between Sproughton Road and Yarmouth Road, and let us not forget the sugar beet factory site! It is not until you notice such areas of development over the years, that if it has been planned properly... we would be further advanced. Of course, the vast majority of the land mention was never going to be developed, and not at one go. The council failed at Ipswich Village so nothing would have came of this if it was planned. ***

          However, other cities and even towns have had their own significant piece of architecture... back-in-the-day it was bridges, now it is typically building developments... there is no point giving an out of county reference, so lets choose BSE arc shopping centre and even OrbisEnergy in Lowestoft (not to my taste but daring to be a little different). The borough doesn't like building designs - preferring cheap (usually tacky) and cheerful.

          The Philip Kassanis Riverside masterplan is pretty amazing. Not to my taste, but the entire area is within a single plan. Ipswich needs to grow out of tiny developments. Bigger developments can be phased and well, it is not viable for the entire stretch to be built simultaneously anyway. A modest number of homes, the vast majority would have been retail, restaurants/leisure and offices.

          Something which may split ranks is the malthouse building. We don't have to keep every example of the past (in fact much of it has been destroyed in the past) - and not all old maltings needs to become offices. This one is too small to make a good project of it (compared to Felaw Maltings) - although I am keen on the current planning application. Various people have been killed on this site under various nightclubs. It needs to be demolished. More significant than this building are those that lined our wet dock, very little left from that era, why are we being stuck with old buildings where is is difficult to find a modern commercially viable use? Even when it was a nightclub they had to import people to fill it. Unfortunately, no developer is interested in the car park plot or the land next to it without this site.

          Back to application... It is a mess. They have worked out what "they can get away with" and what will yield them the biggest return. It is the primary aim of their business, however, I prefer developments where intent of maximising profits aren't too obvious to a layman for example. For me, developers can make as much money as they want but under the following restraints...
          1) there must be something in the development for the wider town/area/city (beautiful design, large employment opportunities, regeneration (not to be confused with "reuse"), social mobility etc.)
          2) not to rely on public funding to make it a reality (investors/developers should have a reasonable balance between risk and reward; public funded projects must have affordable housing or social housing)
           
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            wrightie

            wrightieFounder Member

            Messages:
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            I was looking into the proposal and found that the gym is going to be 1,928 sq m over two storeys. But worse than that is the design of the restaurants.
            img1.png img2.png img3.png
            Seems the housing part was tagged on as phase two. The outside seating (depending on tenant) will mostly be along Grafton Way itself, while the river and green/trees behind, with the river walk will be lined with access roads, bins and car parking spaces. Furthermore, I had assumed the buildings were connected or better laid out. Instead there will be a free standing tower, with a gap next to a hotel. It seems so disjointed. Parking along the river path will probably be staff and hotel only. I cant see another parking, so 81 flats with no onsite parking? With the tesco proposal they had a plinth/foundation with parking below allowing you to walk up to the river edge. This, however, just seems the cheapest possible option, squash a large building in a small site that wont require as much work prior to construction. Also, its all concrete and paving. Very little trees and greenary.
             
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            • martinc

              martincFounder Member

              Messages:
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              That space is so crying out for some sort of urban park fronting the river, it could be wonderful. It probably won't be...
               
            • dan5

              dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

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              Jordan that gives me an idea. Get rid of that awful road! I would bend it around the back of the cinema through part of what is Jewsons connecting up to the road (Franciscan Way) on to the roundabout. Create a new road behind the large royal mail one. Possibly build a bus station here. Relocate the mini retail park along with royal mail... demolish cardinal park it really is crap apart from the cinema building. Use all the land from river to that road, create a really special retail/leisure development. It wouldn't be cheap but when you look back and see how much TXU spent on what is now SCC HQ and the cost of the Buttermarket Centre to build... ambitious but not silly.

              I don't understand why anyone thinks outside dining near a busy road is desirable. 3 large restaurant units but 3 small units. The largest restaurant has subdivision written all over it. I could see this being split from that "staff cycles" wall which conveniently is halfway between the two doors. I think the "phase 2" was the original bit, them deciding to have the restaurants there at that end closest to the waterfront and Cardinal Park.

              How bizarre! The parking appears to be for the restaurants but there is no parking for the flats. Actually, come to think of it there is a lot of space for staff cycles. Is this a joke? I assume 1 space per flat? Take the towns most recent restaurant development... Buttermarket... you get a lot of bikes outside to deliver their food but none of the staff ride a bike (not that I am aware of anyway).

              I found out recently that (lets say a senior person within) Ipswich Society were set against the Tesco proposal and that they might be in favour of this one?

              graftonway-openspace-urbanpark-1997.png
              I notice the "Phase 1" is pretty spot on within the wet dock boundary to the last Local Plan (above). I assume the council advised them them against full residential on this part.

              It would be awesome Martin for there to be an urban park. The skate park and restaurants part was supposed to be open space in the last local plan. Instead we got some bus shelters and some trees at the railway station...
              ipswichparkmapradius1997.png
               
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              • dan5

                dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

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                The car park in this area is seeking an extension 17/00914/FUL.

                Tesco Stores Ltd landlord, Green Parking Ltd tenant. An extra year until 29 September 2019.
                graftonway-carpark-extension.png
                It appears they applied for two years extension initially but the council only gave one!

                I get the impression the landlord is in no hurry to develop the site. The council tried to trick the current tenant into half the duration they applied for to get things moving with the main development. I have to admit this is pretty sh!tty for the council and this attitude is exactly why Ipswich suffers with developments.

                They must know the temporary car park is for a little income to the landlord whilst a master plan has been done and therefore when this happens the agreement with the third party operating the car park would end? I wouldn't be surprised if the borough doesn't intend to borrow and acquire the site!
                 
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                • dan5

                  dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

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                  Interesting document I found... (likely superseded by now)

                  (Is there parking in museum street?! )

                  If I haven't messed up the numbers... 1616 sqm divided by 5 is 323? These are only maximum. Harvester/Toby is 84 spaces for 800sqm divided by 5 is 160, so 84 is a bit more than half.

                  So do these Grafton Way restaurants require 150 minimum parking spaces? To put this into perspective, Cardinal Park over the road has 600 parking spaces! I am not sure what the restaurant units floor space is. Maybe 100 spaces on those images of the Grafton Way planning document? Inclusive of the flats, which should be one or two car parking space per dwelling.
                   
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                  • OP
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                    wrightie

                    wrightieFounder Member

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                    Looking through some of the plans and layout of the site, the best one I could find is this.

                    Screenshot (172).png
                    I, havent counted them, but for the few there are, staff only?
                    150 not a chance. Unless there is some hidden underground car park, maybe not. Unless this is staff/gym/hotel parking, with people expected to use cardinal park, and residents to use public transport?

                    Not to mention the fact that this proposal removes a large number of car parking.

                    The houses only have 1 space, but the roads are a 'shared space', so that will be full of parked cars.

                    Looking through some of the plans, I came across this image. Its not a final render, but it gives the best indication to the impact of the skyline. Not to mention the lack of design, it really looks like a 60's tower, with some balconies. Like you said, all angled towards the waterfront
                    Screenshot (173).png
                     
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                    • dan5

                      dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

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                      80 spaces at a quick count (not scientific!). Yes, this is currently a temporary car park and a similar size to Cardinal Park. They can have a travel plan but there is no suitable bus stops close by (Cardinal Park very limited and only in evening - would be their primary times - but they will open at lunch) and although car parking at Cardinal Park doesn't require going to a restaurant, I don't think they will see it as reasonable... as honestly who will go over the road after struggling to find a free car parking space?

                      The restaurant tenants wouldn't subsidise a third party service. Usually pay and display car parks give special rates to tenants and likewise for free parking with time enforcement fines (i.e. retail parks, some supermarkets etc) they usually allow discretion of tenants through number plate registration.

                      Thanks for the new map, shocked! They are proposing an exit onto Bridge Street! Just before a roundabout. The restaurants are likely to mirror the opening hours of those opposite... 12pm (midday) to 10pm or 11pm depending on the day. Harvester opens at 9am.
                       

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