New crane takes shape at former newspaper site

Former Archant site in Lower Brook Street.

The crane starts to take shape on the former Archant site at Lower Brook Street. - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Work to build new sheltered homes on the site of the former offices of the Ipswich Star and East Anglian Daily Times has stepped up with the arrival of a large crane to help with the construction.

The elements of the crane arrived on Tuesday when it was being put together and it should become a significant new landmark for the next few months beside Lower Brook Street.

Former Archant site in Lower Brook Street.

The crane is lifted into place at Lower Brook Street in Ipswich. - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

The site of the new building was the home of publisher Archant - previously Eastern Counties Newspapers - for 50 years from 1966 until 2016.

The site was then bought to be redeveloped as a new residential centre for McCarthy Stone.

The development of that was held up by a number of factors - the site had to be closely examined by archaeologists because it was near the original heart of Ipswich which emerged as the first Anglo Saxon town in the country during the Dark Ages.

Once that had been completed there were problems when McCarthy Stone initially pulled out of the deal as Covid lockdowns caused huge problems for the construction industry.

Crane at Lower Brook Street

The crane arrives at Lower Brook Street in Ipswich. - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

But then last year it was confirmed that McCarthy Stone were going ahead with the proposal and the site was cleared ready for construction work to begin.

Groundwork on the site has now started, and the arrival of the crane should herald the start of major work. The first homes on the site are expected to be made available for sale in August and be occupied from February next year.

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There will eventually be 51 flats - 25 one-bedroomed and 26 two-bedroomed - and 11 cottages. The development will also include communal areas, a house

Sophie Last from McCarthy Stone said: "Our new development on Lower Brook Street is perfectly situated to enable Ipswich retirees to choose their own pace of life and get the most out of their retirement years.”

The development has also been welcomed by Ipswich Central which is working to try to attract more people to live in the town centre.

Chair Terry Baxter said: "This site has been empty for a number of years and its transformation will be the first of many connected town centre homes. We currently have about 1,000 homes in the town centre but our aim over the next five-years will be to increase this five-fold”.

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