Ipswich garages ripped down – but when will new development start?
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Eyesore garages in Princes Street should be consigned to history by the end of next month – but it is still not clear how long it will be before the site is redeveloped as part of Ipswich’s main business district.
The land, and garage site, is owned by Ipswich council and should eventually be developed by its property company Ipswich Borough Assets – but the uncertainty over the state of the world economy means those plans are currently on hold.
Council leader David Ellesmere has visited the site to see the progress with the demolition, and said he was looking forward to seeing the end of the garages: “Clearing the site is a big step and its first use should be as a service site when a new hotel is built on the next door site that used to be the Drum and Monkey pub.
“We had planned to flatten this site and create more temporary parking spaces but at the moment there is not the demand for long-stay parking spaces for office workers around here and we don’t know when that will return – so we’re saving a bit of money by not doing that.”
The council has obtained planning permission to build a new multi-storey car park to replace the surface spaces on the former cattle market site – but Mr Ellesmere said there was no start date agreed for that and it would depend on demand.
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But when it is built its cost would not come out of council tax bills. He said: “We should be able to finance that with a loan that is paid by the Enterprise Zone receipts we get from the development of Futura Park – with one success story helping to finance another.”
Mr Ellesmere did not know how long it would take to see development plans emerge for the site between Princes Street and Portman Road – that would depend on how fast the economy bounced back after the pandemic.
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He said: “I hope it won’t take five, six or seven years for something to come up for this area – but it does depend on demand and what could be built here.”
The long-term aim is to redevelop the whole surface car park for business, or possibly some residential, use. And there is already an outline plan to build a new office block on the old garages site once the economy picks up and a tenant is found. That will be built by IBA’s development arm to provide a rental income for the borough council.