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Visionary plans to save an Ipswich Waterfront landmark

10:10 25 January 2016

The plans for the development of the Brewery Tap / Tolly Cobbold Brewery in Ipswich. Clive Thompson of Pigeon Developments and architect John Lyall (left) are pictured.

The plans for the development of the Brewery Tap / Tolly Cobbold Brewery in Ipswich. Clive Thompson of Pigeon Developments and architect John Lyall (left) are pictured.

Archant

Plans for the Victorian brewery include a `mini Albert Hall’ conference and concert centre

The plans for the development of the Brewery Tap / Tolly Cobbold Brewery in Ipswich. Architect John Lyall is pictured.The plans for the development of the Brewery Tap / Tolly Cobbold Brewery in Ipswich. Architect John Lyall is pictured.

At-risk Ipswich icon, the disused Tolly Cobbold brewery at Cliff Quay, could become a tourist attraction under latest plans revealed by the owners and developers.

The owners want to restore the historic Victorian brewery, where Tolly Cobbold beers were produced for decades, and introduce new uses to make it a

a viable centre for business, education and for events and concerts too.

It has been closed since 2002, ending more than 250 years of brewing on the site.

The development plan for the area also includes 220 new homes close to the waterfront.

Previous plans for apartments in the brewery building, and for shopping, have been dropped in favour of these public uses.

Now they would bring in students, visitors and tourists instead.

There would be spaces for start-up business, a restaurant and a cafe, a mini brewing museum and the main part of the four-storey main building would become the 200-plus seater auditorium, available for conferences, educational lectures and for concerts.

The concert hall would be the full, four-storey height of the impressive building.

Project co-ordinator Clive Thompson said: “It will be like a little Albert Hall, or a Snape Maltings concert hall.

“It has reached a very exciting stage.”

They had had very productive discussions with the local authority planners, he said, and would now make formal planning applications to the borough council.

The Ipswich business community, local people and residents were invited to visit a special exhibition at The Brewery Tap pub, to see the development plans and ask questions of the developers about the scheme.

As part of the development project a new home would also be created for the historic vehicles collection of Ipswich Transport Museum.

Architect John Lyall, whose other projects have included the Jerwood DanceHouse on the quayside, said it was important to find new uses for the historic brewery.

He said: “We have had an amber light from the Heritage Lottery Fund to apply for a grant to save the listed building.

“This way it will be used for education, and for business.

“You will be creating employment as well as saving the historic building.

“There will he spaces for start-up businesses and the auditorium.

“It will be used for education and for businesses, that would secure the building for the future.

“The university has already expressed in interest in using the auditorium for lectures.

“We have already been in touch with them.”

The new performance area would be a great addition to Ipswich, he said.

“Ipswich does need another auditorium. I think it will work hard here.

“The Jerwood DanceHouse seats 200 people, for example.

“I think for bands you could bring in about 250/300 people here.

“You could create more space by removing seats for exhibitions.”

Under the plans the main entrance to the building would be turned round, to what is the back of the brewery, with a Waterfront restaurant space being created at the front overlooking the Orwell.

He added:

“We have had a lot of support from Ben Gummer and the Ipswich Vision over these plans.

“There is still a lot of work to be done. This is the outline application and we need to up the details for a detailled planning application.

“There are also grant applications that have to be made, including our Heritage grant.”

In the short term, scaffolding needed to be put up to protect the brewery building.

Your can email your views to: info@pigeon.co.uk

12 comments

  • Chantry- I don't normally reply to your outpouring of resentment towards the Waterfront, but I felt compelled to on this occasion, as I take issue with much of what you are saying. I think the Broomhill Trust would take issue with your 'little effort into the Lido' or perhaps you did miss the fantastic announcement made last year which was due to the HUGE efforts of the Trust? IBC spent £10m on the Sugar Beet, a piece of land which has been derelict for many years and have the intention of developing a commercial industrial park- which believe it or not- having new build units that close to the A14 would be very popular. This would have also been a prime site for retail development to capture the market to the west of Ipswich which actually would have been another blow to the town centre- and as we all know IBC would have been powerless to have stopped it. There is also the possibility of course- that IBC actually make some money from the project which they can reinvest into Ipswich...!!! It is true that the Brewery is detached from the waterfront at present- but look up the Eagle Wharf plans made by Persimmon back around 2005- this would have linked up the rest of the waterfront to the Brewery site really nicely- whilst the recession may have kicked this project into the long grass- at some point this will come forward again. We could of course, in the interim, just wait for the Brewery to fall down perhaps? No interest in the town centre- what about the £10m being spent on the Buttermarket? £3m refurbishment of Tower Ramparts into Sailmakers? Paving of Princes Street which is upcoming? Giles Circus already done? Cornhill redevelopment (not a fan of what is proposed personally)? Theatre Square? BHS investing in their store whilst closing 60 others across the country? There is a fair bit going on- never enough of course- but we should acknowledge what IS being done. You mention Ornamental Gardens? Ipswich has 2 fantastic parks in Christchurch and Holywells- believe it or not they are both less than 10 MINUTES from the TC!!! They are a fantastic benefit to the town.

    Report this comment

    IpswichBristol

    Thursday, January 28, 2016

  • Waterfront. Waterfront. Let us move everything to the Waterfront. Even if it is next to a busy Cliff Quay industrial dock and far away from anything else. No interest in the development of Ipswich town centre and little effort towards the iconic Broomhill Lido. So here goes another Heritage Lottery windfall for another Artsy Project which is 1 to 2 miles out of the town centre and a long long walk from Stoke Bridge and the town centre. Why does Ipswich have to build new projects so far apart and so far from the town centre. ? Why can we not get a Government Grant to tidy up historic town centre shopping roads like Upper Orwell Street and Upper Brook Street ? Why not invest funds in to a permanent town centre outdoor market square and ornamental gardens ? Nope....we want to persevere with the Waterfront French Riviera dream. So why waste £20 million + on a derelict sugar beet factory at Sproughton ? We already have the loss making Regent , Wolsey Theatre and Jerwood House so why does Ipswich need a Snape Maltings concert hall ? Many of the plays, shows and live music events are rarely sold out to a capacity crowd. Might aswell move the Tower Ramparts Bus Station down to the Waterfront aswell. Affordable apartments would be a good idea for this brewery site if the residents do not mind the Cliff Quay Dock traffic..

    Report this comment

    chantry

    Wednesday, January 27, 2016

  • Having ideas or visions is one thing as I agree with blue and white... but the new owners of this are an investment group they don't actually develop they generally just sell the planning permission granted on to another developer. ..it's why so many projects actually fail in Ipswich... just like the county hall and the odeon ... Time they put a restricted permission so this has to be developed and not sold on again...personally I think it looks awful and it should be bulldozed..!

    Report this comment

    deeber

    Tuesday, January 26, 2016

  • blue&white- I do understand your cynicism- however this, I understand, was an exhibition to display the scheme which has gone in the planning application- one step at a time- let's wait to see the planning outcome and what happens thereafter before being too downbeat about it at the moment..

    Report this comment

    IpswichBristol

    Tuesday, January 26, 2016

  • Yet more "could" and "would", more "plans" and "visions". I'll only believe it when I see FACTS reported about any work actually having been COMPLETED. But this is yet another optimistic development plan... probably one more in a long line of abandoned schemes for Ipswich over the past couple of decades that were proclaimed as certainties but never came to fruition. Can you blame anyone for feeling cynical about it?

    Report this comment

    blue&white

    Tuesday, January 26, 2016

  • Beerbaron- I have seen your idea about beer festivals being held here before- I think an excellent suggestion. Would be a fitting tribute to the history of the building. Barnacle- I think you'll find IBC are actively trying to get something off the ground for the Stoke Bridge entrance through a Compulsory Purchase Order. Also- you must have missed that the 'monstrosity' was brought last year by a local developer to complete the building- work I understand will start this year. It is far from a 'dump', but if you do feel that way then you do not have to use it, so don't! In terms of this development, it has the potential to be a real catalyst for further development to connect up the already developed parts- so we should support it. Not to mention preserving the brewery building which should be seen as a huge benefit!!

    Report this comment

    IpswichBristol

    Tuesday, January 26, 2016

  • you dont need tower breweries of this type to brew beer really anymore, most new breweries are just setup in non-descript industrial units on single level which is far easier. So if this development keeps the building intact, maintains the history of the town for a change, and puts it to a good use as a public space, then its something we should all support.Though Id still like to see the "mini Albert Hall" offer the use for beer festivals to help maintain that link to the brewing heritage and past.

    Report this comment

    beerbaron

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • How about restore it back as a brewery? Would create hundreds of jobs and help put Ipswich back on the map.

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Yes, the entrance to the Waterfront at Stoke bridge is a disgrace - I can't understand why nothing has been done to improve this very important area, which gives a terrible first impression to visitors. Further along, though, the Waterfront is something to be proud of. Cliff Quay, though, is much further along... Maybe this scheme what is needed to revitalise this very unattractive area...

    Report this comment

    Graham Cleaver

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • So this is the Waterfront too ? Not the lovely place its made out to be then ? This area is a dump. Good to see someone making an effort to improve it though.

    Report this comment

    Poppys Dad

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • I would prefer if a little effort was made in to sorting out the bomb site at Stoke Bridge and a plan for the empty sites in Burrell Road and Grafton Way. Then we have two more areas of wasteland off Duke Street and a ghastly half built concrete monstrosity known as the "Wine Rack". All the facing at the front of the Dance East building have fallen off and the white panels remaining are going green...The truth is the waterfront is a dump so please please stop singing its praises and keep away. The traffic is a nightmare and the pollution caused by the gridlock is killing those who live here... Sadly

    Report this comment

    Barnacle

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • I would prefer if a little effort was made in to sorting out the bomb site at Stoke Bridge and a plan for the empty sites in Burrell Road and Grafton Way. Then we have two more areas of wasteland off Duke Street and a ghastly half built concrete monstrosity known as the "Wine Rack". All the facing at the front of the Dance East building have fallen off and the white panels remaining are going green...The truth is the waterfront is a dump so please please stop singing its praises and keep away. The traffic is a nightmare and the pollution caused by the gridlock is killing those who live here... Sadly

    Report this comment

    Barnacle

    Monday, January 25, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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