Further details have been released about plans to convert a medieval church in the town centre into a live music venue.

St Stephen's in Arras Square had most recently been used as a tourist information centre but has not been in use since the pandemic began in March 2020.

Now, the building which is owned by Ipswich Borough Council, is set to become a café and working space for creators and artists by day, and a live music venue with a capacity of up to 225 people by night.

Ipswich Star: Councillor Colin Kreidewolf said that Ipswich is crying out for a live music venue.Councillor Colin Kreidewolf said that Ipswich is crying out for a live music venue. (Image: Archant)

The centre will be run by SoundsEast – a new community interest community formed by the team behind Out Loud Music.

The design and access statement for the project, prepared by Ipswich-based Nicholas Jacobs Architects, shows that St Stephen’s will operate under the name of The Church and adds that the project aims to support 1,000 independent artists in its first three years.

It also aims to bring 25,000 additional visits to The Church, and will create 15 new jobs– five directly and ten indirectly.

This news comes just months after the council was urged to make Arras Square one of the focal points of the town.

Councillor Colin Kreidewolf, of Ipswich Borough Assets (IBA), said he is excited about this new addition to Ipswich.

He said: “The town has been crying out for a live music venue for many, many years. This brings back into use a redundant building right in the centre of town.

“Out Loud Music, who will be operating the venue, have already got a successful operation at the Smokehouse just off Norwich Road, so they have a proven track record of attracting good quality groups and music to the town.

“They were operating for Sound City last year, and that was a really successful couple of days at the Smokehouse, the Corn Exchange, and at St Stephens.

“It worked really well. There was a great atmosphere, it’s easily accessible, and people can visit the bars and restaurants around the venue before going on to a gig.”

Mr Kreidewolf added he was pleased the application takes into consideration the historic nature of the church, which is a Grade II* building.

He said: “I’m really pleased about this. I’ve been working with Joe Bailey and Marcus Neal from Out Loud Music for some time, and it’s good to see plans coming together.

“We look forward to hopefully opening next year, subject to planning permission.”