Emergency talks on car park crisis

EMERGENCY talks among retailers are starting today after it emerged that the town's biggest car park is to be demolished just weeks before Christmas.

Simon Tomlinson

EMERGENCY talks among retailers are starting today after it emerged that the town's biggest car park is to be demolished just weeks before Christmas.

Bosses at Ipswich Borough Council have decided to permanently close the 1,001-space Crown Car Park, which has been riddled with problems since the 1980s, after engineers discovered “concrete cancer” in the structure.

Mike Sorhaindo, Tower Ramparts centre manager, said the decision will have a knock-on effect for retailers.


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He said: “It will have an impact in terms of the visitations to Ipswich.

“Most of the car parks near the centre are already at full capacity during busy shopping hours.

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“We are working closely with the council and Ipswich Central to develop ways and means of encouraging future bus use so we can increase the people who get off at the centre.

“I am fully aware that emergency meetings and talks are taking place with transport providers to make swift plans to address these shortfalls.”

John Carnall, portfolio holder for finance, said: “The last thing we wanted to do was shut this car park just before Christmas because it is important for providing spaces for visitors who will hopefully support businesses.”

It is not yet known when the demolition will take place, but there are hopes of salvaging the ground floor and adding a new temporary storey to create a 350-space building by September next year.

In the mean time, a free shuttle bus service will be extended until 10pm on Thursday late-night shopping evenings - of which the first of five will take place on November 19 - and between 9am and 6pm on Saturdays.

The service, which runs every 20 minutes, will now also stop at the Portman Road and Ipswich Village car parks.

A new 20-space car park is to be created in Bond Street and the borough will be negotiating with town centre landowners to provide other spaces.

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