A thousand jobs could be coming to town

TWO major businesses have today set their sights on the redevelopment of a former Ipswich factory which could create up to 1,000 jobs.

TWO major businesses have today set their sights on the redevelopment of a former Ipswich factory which could create up to 1,000 jobs.

The companies are in advanced talks with the owners of the Crane Fluid Systems site in Nacton Road and a full planning application could be submitted by the end of April.

It has led to renewed speculation that Ikea may be coming to the town, but planning chiefs said they were not aware of any interest from the furniture giants.

Russell Williams, head of planning at Ipswich Borough Council, said: “People have suggested the site might be suitable for an Ikea store but we have not taken a view on that because we have not had a planning application.”

The site is expected to see a radical transformation over the coming weeks and months as the final workers leave the Crane plant after more than 80 years of manufacturing in the town.

Its new owners, Borderbeach, a subsidiary of Allied Property and Leisure, will begin bulldozing and de-contaminating the Ravenswood site - much of which has been left empty for the last 30 years - as soon as it is handed over at the end of this month.

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Richard Coke, director of Coke Consulting, the agent for Borderbeach, said two well-known names had shown serious interest in taking residency of around half the 43-acre site.

“That will be enough to kick-start the development and bring in those who are sitting on the fence,” he said.

“We have had a number of occupiers talk to us, covering the whole spectrum from top-end retailers to manufacturers.

“My hope is that it will be a vibrant mixed-use scheme.”

Mr Coke said the development could create between 500 and 1,000 jobs depending on the combination of businesses that emerge there.

Crane - which makes fluid systems for the engineering industry - has wound down the last of its manufacturing in Ipswich and moved to a new administrational HQ on the nearby Ransomes Europark.

What do you think of the development? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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