Ipswich council chiefs hope Tolly sale will lead to restoration

Cliff Quay brewery

What is the future for Cliff Quay brewery after its sale? - Credit: Paul Geater

The ownership of the former Tolly Cobbold brewery remains a mystery - but business and council leaders are hopeful that its sale could herald the start of a new era for the Ipswich landmark.

The building and the large plot of land it occupies - including the former Brewery Tap pub and cottage - was sold for £475,000 by Savills last week.

But the name of the new owner has not been released yet - and it will cost tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of millions to fully redevelop the site.

There is outstanding planning permission for the site that would involve the restoration of the pub and the cottage, the construction of new shops - including a supermarket, and more than 200 flats.

But before that could start, there would have to be renovation work carried out to the brewery itself which is a listed building with listed internal features and equipment.

In 2015 outline planning permission was granted which would include it being turned into commercial space with a gallery and museum space as well as a theatre/lecture hall space on the top floor - but that was never carried through.

It was sold to its current owner in 2019 and now it has been sold again.

The exact state of the building is not known because it has been too dangerous to conduct a full survey since last February's fire - but planners at the borough are clear that it should be preserved and converted.

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It is understood that the borough did consider making a bid for the brewery site to preserve part of the town's heritage - but such a suggestion was quickly dismissed because of the uncertainty of the costs involved and the fact it would almost certainly fail any "due diligence" examination.

But councillors and officials are hopeful the new owner is a person or organisation with local connections who is aware of the importance of the brewery to Ipswich. 

Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere said: "We hope to soon find out about the new owner and to have a constructive dialogue about the future of the building and the site as a whole - that is a very important landmark for Ipswich."