Is The Botanist going to take on the Old Post Office on Ipswich Cornhill?
PUBLISHED: 09:51 04 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:11 04 September 2020
A new restaurant and bar which has branches across England is understood to be looking at taking over the old Post Office building on Ipswich Cornhill.
The Botanist already has 21 restaurants in towns and cities across England and in Cardiff – and was founded in Cheshire.
It has a reputation for taking over landmark buildings in town and city centres to help to develop its presence in an area – which would make the Old Post Office an ideal site for it.
It is understood that the borough has been in talks with the company for some time and members of the council’s executive committee are to be given an update on the talks in a private briefing next week – but nothing has been signed yet.
Getting a new tenant for the Old Post Office, officially named No 1 Cornhill, has been a priority for the council since the area was updated two years ago – but the building is currently in the middle of a £1m renovation which is due to be completed during the early months of next year.
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The work was delayed by the pandemic and lockdown, but workers have been back on site since life started to return to normal.
The building has been empty since Lloyds Bank moved out about five years ago – and other tenants including The Wharf also left. While the building was empty the borough took the opportunity to restore it, fixing the roof and returning it to its Victorian condition before a new tenant could be found.
But before it can be used again there needs to be work to make it comply with the Disability Discrimination Act – the main entrance is up a number of steps that are inaccessible to people with mobility problems.
The restoration work is focussing on restoring the roof to its original condition and ensuring that it is completely watertight and improving the decorations which have been exposed to the elements since the 1880s.
But if it is to have a new use, there will also need to be internal changes, including the installation of a new lift to ensure customers with disabilities can access what used to be the main Post Office hall – and is likely to be the main feature of the restaurant. Those changes will be carried out once the deal with the tenant is finally agreed and signed, possibly allowing them to be completed during the current work.
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