£18m plan to transform site near stadium

DEVELOPERS are in talks to build a new £18million development including a hotel, leisure facilities and housing in Ipswich town centre.Turnstone Estates, the new owners of the Civic Centre, want to revitalise a five-acre patch of land on Princes Street, just a hundred yards from the Portman Road football stadium, and transform it into a trendy area.

DEVELOPERS are in talks to build a new £18million development including a hotel, leisure facilities and housing in Ipswich town centre.

Turnstone Estates, the new owners of the Civic Centre, want to revitalise a five-acre patch of land on Princes Street, just a hundred yards from the Portman Road football stadium, and transform it into a trendy area.

The developers already own the former Drum & Monkey pub on the site having snapped up the 3,840 sq ft in March 2005 from Punch Taverns for £255,000 and also the adjacent property - Greyfriar's House - which was bought in 1999.

Nick Scott, director at Turnstone, told The Evening Star his firm has been in discussion with Ipswich Borough Council, which owns a significant amount of land in the area, about a joint venture to redevelop the land.

The council is currently commissioning a feasibility study over whether part of the car park behind the complex could be used to house a new swimming complex for the town to replace the ageing Crown Pools.

Mr Scott said: “We are in discussion with the council about it.

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“They own the land at the rear of the Drum & Monkey.

“The pub is vacant at the moment and we are assessing the options for redevelopment on the land.”

James Hehir, chief executive of Ipswich Borough Council, confirmed the authority has been speaking to Turnstone about a possible venture.

He said: “We are talking to them about developing that site.”

News of the possible development comes just a day after it was announced Turnstone Estates has bought the council's former Civic Centre site in a deal believed to be worth millions.

Turnstone is aiming to submit a planning application for that site by July this year and construction is expected to be finished by summer 2009.

The firm is currently in talks with several major food stores, including Waitrose, about taking on the 50,000 sq ft anchor store for the development.

Would you welcome a new development on Princes Street? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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