Downturn puts �25m development on hold

WORK on a major new �25million development linking Ipswich Waterfront with the town centre has been delayed due to the economic downturn, it emerged today.

WORK on a major new �25million development linking Ipswich Waterfront with the town centre has been delayed due to the economic downturn, it emerged today.

Work on Custom House Square, which is to be built on the HQ of former animal feed firm BOCM Pauls, opposite the Old Custom House, was due to get under way in the autumn.

Construction has yet to begin and Alistair Grills, agent for developers ESHA homes, said a start date is likely to depend on when the housing market picks up again.

Just last month, The Evening Star revealed that work on another Waterfront development, Regatta Quay, has slowed to take account of the current financial climate.

Mr Grills said the fact the development includes 214 flats makes the Custom House Square scheme susceptible to market forces.

“I suspect the downturn in the housing market has led to decreased demand for flats and I guess that has impacted on when the scheme will begin,” he said.

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“The developers may well be looking for signs of recovery before going ahead.”

As well as new flats, the development, which has already been granted planning permission, is set to feature an indoor craft market, workshops and retail units.

It is expected construction, when under way, will take anything between 18 months and two years.

One of the features of the development will be a new square in front of the Old Custom House which will be paved.

Traffic will be able to continue using Key Street.

The 1930s fa�ade of the buildings facing Key Street will be retained and features as one side of the craft market.

The largest building will be 12 storeys with a caf� on the ground floor and flats above.

It will be styled with a two-storey beacon at the top to give the appearance of a lighthouse.

Despite concerns about the housing market, Persimmon Homes Anglia has reported an increase in the number of sales during the last two months of 2008 in comparison to the same period for 2007.

Year-on-year the developers sold 15 more homes in the region for the last eight weeks of 2008 in comparison to 2007.

Meanwhile a number of developments on Ipswich's Waterfront are continuing to progress, including the Cranfield Mill complex.

Does the Waterfront need more homes? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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