Crown court nears completion
IPSWICH'S new Crown Court building came nearer completion today as its foundation stone was laid.The court building, opposite the Princes Street fire station, is due to open in the early summer and will replace the existing courts in Civic Drive.
IPSWICH'S new Crown Court building came nearer completion today as its foundation stone was laid.
The court building, opposite the Princes Street fire station, is due to open on June 7 and will replace the existing courts in Civic Drive.
It will contain five courtrooms instead of the existing three and should enable more high-profile trials to be heard in the town rather than being transferred to Norwich or Chelmsford.
The foundation stone was being laid by Sir Richard Aikens, presiding judge of the South Eastern circuit.
He said: "I am delighted that Ipswich Crown Court will soon be working in new and much more spacious premises. It will help reduce waiting time for trails.
"I wish all those who are going to be working here regularly the very best in the future."
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After laying the stone, Mr Justice Aikens was due to hear cases at Ipswich Crown Court.
Also in attendance was Ipswich town mayor Penny Breakwell, chief executive of Ipswich council James Hehir and council leader Peter Gardiner.
The new courthouse has been built at the same time as a new crown court for Cambridge at a joint cost of £40 million.
Work started on it in November 2002, and it is now almost ready to open its doors.
Ross Taylor, manager of Ipswich Crown Court said: "The building is now pretty much finished and just needs some finishing touches.
"It looks really good and I am sure court users will be pleased with what they see."
The future of the existing crown court building, opened in the late 1960s, is unclear.
It could be used as an extension to the town's magistrates court in the short term - but in the longer term is likely to be demolished as part of the redevelopment of the Civic Centre site.