Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 9°C

Search

Gallery: Waves of enthusiasm for the dream of Ipswich’s Waterfront wonder

16:00 27 February 2013

The attractive Waterfront area of Ipswich - a vision that became a reality

The attractive Waterfront area of Ipswich - a vision that became a reality

IT is more than 30 years since the dream of reinventing Ipswich’s Wet Dock as the Waterfront was ignited at the Maritime Ipswich festival in 1982.

shares

Waterfront plans

SENIOR borough councillor Peter Gardiner was at the heart of decision-making when the plans for the Waterfront were being drawn up in the 1980s, and became council leader in the 1990s.

There were critical points in the development but, he said, the recession of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s had delayed the work.

Original plans to build flats on what became the Bellway Homes site stalled when the economy collapsed – and that also prevented the development of the former Eastern Counties’ Farmers site. Eventually this became the site of the main UCS building – so the delay probably had a beneficial effect on the eventual development of the Waterfront.

Mr Gardiner remembers: “We went to Bristol and Hartlepool and looked at what was happening at Lincoln, which all helped us to draw up our plans.

“But to some extent we had to be guided by what developers saw as the future of the area.”

The deal to get Felaw Maltings restored and converted into a business centre was crucial – that was always at the heart of the 1980s masterplan.

And the Bellway flats showed how the Waterfront area could become a popular residential area.

Mr Gardiner felt that if there was a flaw with the development it was the over-reliance on building new flats – for which the demand did not exist.

That has been at the centre of the financial crisis which has left both The Mill and Regatta Quay developments incomplete.

Any development of the Island site was still many years away – but any major scheme like this had to be allowed to run at its own pace.

Paul Geater looks at the vision from the early 1980s – and how it turned into the Waterfront of the 21st Century. Back in 1982, Ipswich held its first Maritime Festival.

At the time the Wet Dock was still a largely industrial area – although the writing was already on the wall for the businesses that formed surrounded it.

Commercial ships were getting larger and fewer were able to into the Wet Dock to reach factories such as Cranfields Mill or Paul’s Maltings.

Maritime Ipswich was always designed to showcase the possibilities of developing the area for other commercial, housing and leisure uses – following on from the example of the redevelopment of the London Docklands which was gathering momentum, as was redevelopment of other dockside areas in places such as Bristol, Gloucester, Hull, and Hartlepool.

A masterplan was drawn up for the redevelopment of the Wet Dock – and a third of a century on it is interesting to see how much of this vision has, or has not, been achieved.

Part of the vision put forward in 1982 has come about, albeit in a slightly different form to that envisaged at the time.

Orwell Quay was always seen as a having the potential for housing development.

The vision at the time foresaw low-density housing there, but we have ended up with a mixed development of houses and flats.

At that stage there was little attention paid to Paul’s Maltings or Cranfield’s Mill which were still operating – the prospect of major redevelopment there seemed a very long way off.

Another major development that was not expected during the 1980s was the establishment of a university. UCS is now the cornerstone of the entire Waterfront development.

However, one element that has not developed as expected in the 1980s is the Island site.

This was originally seen as a major leisure-based area, and its redevelopment would be the first stage in the rebirth of the Waterfront.

However, apart from the establishment of the Ipswich Haven Marina, it has remained an essentially industrial area – with the Fairline Boats establishing its major depot on the site.

In the long term there are still hopes of building homes and leisure facilities on part of the Island site – but there are difficulties in getting some services, especially water and sewerage, to such a location.

shares

0 comments

Drink driver in court

Two drink-drivers have been banned from the road after appearing before Ipswich magistrates.

The new bandstand is completed in Elmhurst Park, Woodbridge.

A Suffolk town is celebrating the arrival of its new bandstand with a Party in the Park.

Abellio Greater Anglia train at Ipswich station

Trains have been cancelled until 3pm at the earliest today between Ipswich to Felixstowe following a signalling fault.

Crash closes lane of A12 at Capel St Mary

A woman was taken to hospital with head injuries following a crash which closed a lane of the A12 this morning.

South East Suffolk Magistrates Court

A 21-year-old Ipswich man has admitted entering garages with intent to steal in a act of stupidity.

Mark Millar, chief executive of St Elizabeth Hospice, with Paul Winter, chief executive of Ipswich Building Society.

Ipswich Building Society has been named as the community engagement partner for one of Suffolk’s biggest ever mass participation and public art events.

Drivers who refuse to put down their mobiles are targeted

Traffic police in Suffolk and Norfolk stopped 36,000 drivers in a year on suspicion of what are termed the ‘Fatal Four’ motoring offences.

Woman on bail for more than two years

The length of time suspects are bailed in Suffolk has been questioned after it emerged three people were kept on police bail for more than two years after their first arrest.

Sizewell C groundwork

Disappointment was voiced last night over renewed uncertainty for Suffolk residents waiting for a decision on Sizewell’s new nuclear reactors.

Despite wet weather, people head to Felixstowe for ice cream or just a walk in the rain.

Scarcely a few weeks have passed since talk of hot and humid temperatures interrupted by heavy rain and flash thunderstorms.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages