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Ipswich Borough Council buys “final part in the jigsaw” at Waterfront entrance

PUBLISHED: 15:45 27 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:28 04 March 2018

David Ellesmere, leader of the Ipswich Borough Council,outside the Paul's silo at Ipswich waterfront. Picture: ARCHANT

David Ellesmere, leader of the Ipswich Borough Council,outside the Paul's silo at Ipswich waterfront. Picture: ARCHANT

The redevelopment of Ipswich Waterfront could be set to take an important step forward as the borough council is preparing to buy the last remaining silo.

The entrance to the Waterfront needs to be improved. Picture: ARCHANT. The entrance to the Waterfront needs to be improved. Picture: ARCHANT.

The council’s executive is expected to confirm the purchase at its meeting next week – in a move that will see it take ownership of all the undeveloped land between Stoke Bridge and Dance East.

Once the purchase of the former Paul’s Specialist Maltings silo is complete, the borough will draw up a masterplan for the site within the next 12 months – and councillors and officials hope work to redevelop the area could start within the next two or three years.

The silo was owned until recently by the Investec Group which is understood to have been looking at the possibility of converting it into flats – and the borough have not given up on that idea.

The building that it owns immediately next to Dance East is structurally sound and it is possible that both could be converted alongside a new build on the site of the former St Peter’s Warehouse which burned down in 1999.

The entrance to the Waterfront needs to be improved. Picture: ARCHANT. The entrance to the Waterfront needs to be improved. Picture: ARCHANT.

The cost of buying the silo will not be revealed until the final deal is completed.

However it is expected to cost less than the value of the other two sites which was nearly £1m.

The borough is not expected to redevelop the sites on its own – and the ownership will not be transferred to its investment company Ipswich Borough Assets.

However councillors are hoping to set up a joint deal with developers to ensure the borough retains a stake in the site when it is converted into a new use.

The borough is already working with the county council to resurface the road between Stoke Bridge and Dance East to provide a better route to the Waterfront.

Borough deputy leader Bryony Rudkin said: “This is a vital site for the development of the Waterfront – it is very much a bridge between the Waterfront and the rest of the town centre.

“The borough council has always had a good reputation for bringing forward developments like this – when I was a member of EEDA it was seen as one of the best councils for economic development.

“We really hope that by taking on this site it will give us the opportunity to really bring forward the redevelopment of this part of the Waterfront.”

Vital Ipswich site awaits development plans

The purchase of the former Pauls’ silo is vital for the ambition to create an attractive entrance to the Waterfront from St Peter’s Church and the town centre.

It is also the gateway to the Waterfront from the new Bankside development which is due to start on Grafton Way within the next few months.

This Waterfront entrance has long been seen as an eyesore and the “missing link” which can put off visitors hoping to reach the area.

Borough leader David Ellesmere has often said that if the authority was able to buy the last land in the area, it should speed up the redevelopment.

Among the features of the area is an historic former merchant’s house on the corner or Key Street and land currently used as a temporary car park which is thought to be one of the oldest sites in Ipswich.

The new development is likely to include flats – but also restaurants, bars and clubs in the ground floor.

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