Could work finally start on Ipswich Waterfront eyesore this year?

Old buildings on Ipswich Waterfront are to be redeveloped.

Old buildings on Ipswich Waterfront are to be redeveloped. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Hopes are rising that work could start on a new development on the most prominent derelict site on Ipswich Waterfront.

The land between Stoke Bridge and the Jerwood Dance House has been largely unused for decades.

The site of the former St Peter’s Warehouse which burned to the ground in 2000 has been a temporary car park for several years.

But the former Paul’s Maltings buildings is the last port silo still standing.

The borough announced last year that it was planning to get a compulsory purchase order to buy the sites and launched a design competition to find a new use for the large site.

However the current owners of the land have now got together with a developer and are planning to submit a planning application to develop the site later in the year.

The council’s threat to seek a compulsory purchase order has now been suspended – but it could still be activated if no planning application is received by September.

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Council leader David Ellesmere said: “When we contacted the site owners, they did not agree with our valuation of the sites and they were not happy about the prospect of us seeking to buy the sites through compulsory purchase.

“But they did talk to each other and have now brought in a developer to come up with a scheme which they expect to submit to the council by September.”

The council had not completely lifted the threat to seek a compulsory purchase order. Mr Ellesmere added: “We could restart that procedure if we felt they aren’t making process, but I think they see we are serious about wanting to improve that area of the town and I hope they come up with a good proposal that can transform the area.”

The site is seen as the crucial “gateway” to the Waterfront from the town centre along St Peter’s Street and St Nicholas’ Street – and any development project would have to include restoring and finding a new use for the historic former ship-owners house on College Street which is listed.