McCarthy & Stone pulls out of housing scheme in Ipswich town centre
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Plans for a new sheltered housing development on the site of the former Ipswich Star and East Anglian Daily Times offices in Lower Brook Street have been dropped after McCarthy & Stone walked away from the deal.
The company – which specialises in housing developments for the over-60s – had agreed to build the new homes after local property developer John Howard cleared the site.
But now they have pulled out to concentrate on a new development in Martlesham.
Mr Howard was very disappointed at the news: “I am very sorry that McCarthy & Stone were unable to see the huge development potential in Ipswich and to understand what a great site this is between the Waterfront and the town centre.
“We have cleared the site and made it oven-ready for someone else to take on. They’d gone through all the planning hoops so this is really disappointing.”
MORE: McCarthy & Stone outline plans for Lower Brook StreetPlanning permission for the sheltered housing was granted by Ipswich council – but only after an extensive archaeological dig on what is one of the oldest sites in Ipswich.
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Offering up the site for an alternate use, Mr Howard said: “That work has now all been completed and the site really is ready to go as soon as planning permission is obtained.”
He is a successful developer himself and is now completing work on the Wine Rack on the Waterfront. He said it was possible that he might decide to go ahead with a new scheme there himself: “But I have other projects on the go and it might be better for someone else to get on with in this case.”
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Ipswich Central had backed the McCarthy & Stone proposal. Chief executive Paul Clement said: “This fitted in totally with our aim of having more people living in the town centre, and creating a greater range of housing types.
“I hope John goes ahead with a new residential scheme there – we need more town houses with small gardens and that is a fantastic place for them with all its easy links to the Waterfront and town centre.”
Demolition of the old newspaper offices started in 2017 after the EADT and Star moved to their new home in Portman House in 2016.
At one stage Mr Howard had been frustrated by the amount of archaeological work needed, but he said that had now been completed on budget – and any new developer would not have to worry about that.