Decision due on university's next phase

DEVELOPERS of Ipswich's university were today confident of getting the thumbs-up to continue the next phase of the landmark Waterfront development.

Simon Tomlinson

DEVELOPERS of Ipswich's university were today confident of getting the thumbs-up to continue the next phase of the landmark Waterfront development.

University Campus Suffolk's blueprint for 600 student apartments was due to go before Ipswich Borough Council's Planning and Development Control Committee today.

If given the go-ahead, construction of the nine-storey development, which includes shops on the ground floor and 100 car parking spaces, will begin at the Orwell Quay site in December and will be funded in partnership with a private developer.

Carol Macaskill, director of business services for UCS, said: “We are optimistic the planning application will be successful. It is exciting because the students who have enrolled this year will be able to experience it when it opens.

“It is a long-term plan and we are doing it in phases so we can keep it in line with funding. We are not over-committing ourselves.”

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University chiefs are also celebrating after being granted full ownership of the site by Ipswich Borough Council and to mark the occasion they have renamed it University Quays.

Mrs Macaskill said: “We wanted to acknowledge that this was an old working dock but also make a statement that the university is part of the regeneration on the Waterfront.”

There are also hopes of getting the green light in November for a 4,000m2 academic building, the first module of which will open in September 2010 along with the block of apartments.

Funding for this phase is expected to come from Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Borough Council, the East of England Development Agency and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Longer term plans have also been earmarked for more student and private accommodation.

The main Waterfront university building is now open and will the first lectures for students will be held in the building on Monday.

What do you think of the next phase of the university development? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk