Hotel boost for Ipswich

A GIANT hotel and block of flats is on the cards for the centre of Ipswich the Evening Star can reveal today.Proposals have been put forward for the £12million development which includes a 130 bedroom, six storey hotel and 56 flats to rejuvenate the St Matthew's area of town.

A GIANT hotel and block of flats is on the cards for the centre of Ipswich the Evening Star can reveal today.

Proposals have been put forward for the £12million development which includes a 130 bedroom, six storey hotel and 56 flats to rejuvenate the St Matthew's area of town.

It is believed the hotel will be a lodge style hotel such as Travel Lodge but the company behind the plans is yet to be named.

A lighthouse style tower will dominate the development at the corner of St Matthew's Street and Berners Street.

If plans get the go ahead, the existing row of shops including Blockbuster Videos and needlecraft shop Franklin's would be demolished to make way for the new development.

The modern style, metal-frame building would include space for restaurants and some shop units but not as many as the ones that already exist.

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It would also include 57 car parking spaces - an increase from the existing 40.

The flats include a number of affordable homes and these will be developed in conjunction with English Churches Housing Group.

A spokesman for Beanland Associates Architects, the developers, said: "The proposal links the more domestic architecture of Berners Street with a more appropriate civic scale fronting the St Matthew's Street roundabout.

"The landmark tower forming the hotel entrance provides a much needed focal point to this key entrance into the town centre."

Although the developers are still in discussions with hotel chains, it is thought the hotel will be a three-star lodge style facility.

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce feels the proposal will be a move in the right direction for Ipswich.

Bob Feltwell, chief executive, said: "The development will replace very dated buildings and bring more people to the heart of Ipswich.

"It will make the town better in visual amenities and allow other shops to blossom in the area. A hotel of this size will bring in more people to the area and provide new customers to existing shops."

Paul Clement, head of town centre management company, the Ipswich Partnership, said: "As Ipswich continues to become more popular for shoppers and those visiting Ipswich for business and for leisure, the provision of additional hotel accommodation in the town centre is critical.

"The Ipswich Partnership welcomes proposals that will encourage further growth for our town centre."

n. Do you think this is what is needed for this area of town? Write to us at Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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