End in sight for tower block

CIVIC centre's days are today numbered. The clock is ticking on the countdown to its closure.Ipswich council has now agreed to move out of the 14-storey tower block and move to new offices to be built in Russell Road.

CIVIC centre's days are today numbered. The clock is ticking on the countdown to its closure.

Ipswich council has now agreed to move out of the 14-storey tower block and move to new offices to be built in Russell Road.

Work on the new offices, opposite the new county council headquarters at Endeavour House, is due to start in August - the first plans should be drawn up within the next few weeks.

The work needs to be completed within a year, and the borough council will move in by the end of 2005.

The council decided on the move after hearing it would cost £13 million to repair civic centre well enough to last 15 years.

That money would have to be borrowed from the money markets, which would cost council tax payers £2.5 million a year over the period of the loan once the cost of interest was taken into account.

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Renting new offices in Ipswich Village would cost between £1.9 million and £2.6 million a year - and the council will also be able to make money by selling the civic centre site to a developer.

Ipswich police station is also likely to move to Russell Road. The Elm Street building shares its electricity and heating supply with the civic centre and its radio masts are on the high roof.

Members of Suffolk Police Authority had been due to discuss future building needs in Ipswich at a meeting last month - but that discussion was deferred to a later date.

However they are expected to make a decision within the next few months, and that could be to move into the same offices as the borough in Russell Road which will be next to the new Crown Court building which is nearing completion.

nWill you be sorry to see the end of civic centre or is it an eyesore which the town can do without? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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