Cafe culture coming to town

IPSWICH could soon have a Covent Garden style courtyard on its waterfront after the Isaac Lord complex was sold for an undisclosed sum.Aiden Coughlan an Ipswich based investor became the new owner of the site on Friday and immediately began discussions with property agents Penningtons to determine the future of the site.

IPSWICH could soon have a Covent Garden style courtyard on its waterfront after the Isaac Lord complex was sold for an undisclosed sum.

Aiden Coughlan an Ipswich based investor became the new owner of the site on Friday and immediately began discussions with property agents Penningtons to determine the future of the site.

Agent Tony Pennington said: "We completed on October 1 and had a preliminary meeting. I think the plans are to follow the ideas of the previous owners in terms of developing and offering a restaurant for which planning permission has been obtained and for some shops overlooking a courtyard."

Mr Coughan has bought the entire Isaac Lord complex including the fifteenth and sixteenth century Merchant's House, Sale Room and quayside warehouse which are the last surviving collection of commercial wool properties in their original form.

Mr Pennington added: "He has acquired another part of the site which is the old Lloyd's bank building and will put the two together. I am not sure what the proposals are but there is the possibility that there might be some residential potential there."

Planning permission had already been granted for a bar/restaurant on the first and second floors of the quayside facing Isaac Lord warehouse and for three retail outlets in a large paved courtyard, which will be opened up to the quayside.

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Previous owners Stuart and Gina Cooper conducted a sensitive repair and refurbishment programme on the complex and the grade one listed Sale Room and Crossways buildings were approved as conference and meeting rooms.

Mr Pennington added: "This is a landmark site in Ipswich and the sale attracted bids from across the country. I am delighted that as Isaac Lord's new owner, Aidan Coughlan will bring his own ideas into the vision set out by Stuart and Gina Cooper for a restaurant and Covent Garden style courtyard on the waterfront."

The sale also includes both The John Russell Art Gallery on Wherry Lane and the Vodka Bar, where trade is expected to continue as usual with the businesses acting as tenants.

Mr Coughlan, moved to Ipswich in 1978 and is believed to own another development in the town.

He established Anglia Telecom in the 80s and sold that business last year.

Plans for the site are in their early stages and it is believed Mr Coughlan has not yet employed an architect.

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