Former St Clements Church in Ipswich’s Star Lane set to become an arts centre

St Clements Church in Ipswich.

St Clements Church in Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

Proposals to develop a new arts centre in one of Ipswich’s best-known historic churches are set to take a big leap forward after a formal planning application was submitted to the borough.

St Clement’s church in Star Lane has not been used for regular worship since 1979 and is in the care of the Ipswich Historic Churches’ Trust.

It is the last of the Medieval churches in the town centre that has not been found a permanent new use – although its building was substantially repaired in the 1980s after a fire in the roof.

The proposal to turn it into an arts centre was unveiled last year. It is backed by senior staff from nearby UCS and by the CSV Clubhouse – and is seen as a vital scheme to give the town a venue for medium-sized gigs that are too large for a pub but too small for the Regent or Corn Exchange.

The planning application to change the use of the building has been submitted to the borough and it is due to be discussed by planners over the next few months.

It would be a major surprise if there are any serious objections to the proposal.

Professor Simon Hallsworth is executive dean at the Faculty of Art at UCS and is one of the prime movers behind the project – and said that Ipswich badly needed a venue of this size.

Most Read

He said the development of the centre could take some time – but the first phase could be completed as early as spring next year if things go well.

That would involve installing a new floor and improving the electrics so it could be used by bands – but that would depend on some funds becoming available.

“There is some work to do, but it is clear that this is the kind of place that the town needs as a venue for music and other arts projects.

“Similar projects have been successful in Norwich and Colchester and we are keen to take this forward in Ipswich.”