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Concrete cancer plague avoided

PUBLISHED: 22:55 26 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:56 03 March 2010

WHILE other towns and cities across the region are having to pull down their multi-storey car parks, civic leaders in Ipswich have been left feeling smug after an expensive decision taken a decade ago.

WHILE other towns and cities across the region are having to pull down their multi-storey car parks, civic leaders in Ipswich have been left feeling smug after an expensive decision taken a decade ago.

Ipswich's largest multi-storey car park, beside Crown Pools, has a bright future while its contemporaries in Norwich and Colchester are biting the dust.

Norwich City Council is this week closing its third multi-storey car park because of "concrete cancer" – leaving a dire shortage of city centre parking spaces.

But while council chiefs in Norwich have a parking crisis on their hands, in Ipswich the outlook is brighter.

Concrete cancer – a condition in which the material deteriorates - was diagnosed as a problem in the Crown car park in the late 1980s, but a series of remedial measures was put into place to ease the crisis.

"We spent quite a lot of money on it, and it does seem to have paid off," said borough engineer Pat Ryan.

"When we started doing the work 10 years ago, we were told the car park would only be safe for another five years.

"We started regular work and surveys on the park, and now the minimum figure for it to remain open is another five years – you really can't look beyond that," he said.

"But it's fair to say we haven't really started looking beyond the closure of the car park."

Mr Ryan said the repair work had not been cheap. "It was a major commitment and we do regular surveys to ensure it is still safe – but it's one heck of a lot cheaper than letting the car park fall down and then starting again."

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