Gaterway development nudges closer

DREAMS of a more appealing gateway to Ipswich's Waterfront were today given a glimmer of hope.

DREAMS of a more appealing gateway to Ipswich's Waterfront were today given a glimmer of hope.

It has emerged that a potential buyer of the burnt-out ruins of the St Peter's warehouse wants to transform the site - but it will still be some time before the eye-sore disappears.

The Victorian warehouse site, which has blighted the area since being destroyed by fire in 2000, has been granted planning permission for 64 apartments and commercial floor space.

But plans to realise this have stalled, in part due to the explosion of housing on the Waterfront which has created indecision over whether the market would cope with such an influx.

The current owners have been looking to offload the site for sometime and it seems a potential buyer who intends to move things forward has come into the picture.

Leslie Short, director of Peecock Short, the estate agents dealing with the site, said: “There is an active interest from a prospective purchaser. We expect the deal to crystallise in the next two months. No-one in this market would be buying to sit on it.”

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Once any deal has gone through it could still take several months or even more than a year before the first brick is laid.

This will give developers a chance to assess the knock-on effects of the unstable economy and a nose-diving housing market.

The prospective buyer's opinion, according to Mr Short, is that the property market will become buoyant again in the not-too-distant future.

But as events unfold, they may look to tear up the current planning permission and pursue a different end-product.

Mr Short said: “Their view is that there is perhaps a bottoming out of the market. In two years' time the housing market would generally have to be better than it is at the moment.

“Nothing will happen probably for 12 months. An existing or future owner might take a different view and look at alternative forms of development at that time.”

Would you like to see more flats at on the Waterfront? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.