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Decision made on plans for former Burton's factory on Ipswich Waterfront

PUBLISHED: 07:30 09 January 2020

A CGI image of what the new-look Burtons arts and media hub could look like. Picture: DAN FISHER

A CGI image of what the new-look Burtons arts and media hub could look like. Picture: DAN FISHER

Dan Fisher

The go-ahead has been given for a Waterfront eyesore to become a new arts and media hub.

Interior of the old Burton's building on the Ipswich Waterfront in a state of disrepair. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNInterior of the old Burton's building on the Ipswich Waterfront in a state of disrepair. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Ipswich Borough Council's planning committee gave unanimous approval on Wednesday morning for the old Burton's factory to be transformed.

The warehouse portion has full planning permission to become the headquarters for internationally-renowned theatre company Gecko, while the adjacent white building has outline permission.

That
space will be used for arts and media organisations to occupy, as well as a takeaway or restaurant, bar and up to 14 flats.

Ipswich borough councillor Colin Kreidewolf said: "It's really pleasing to see this development come forward.

"Ipswich Borough Council has spent considerable time and effort bringing this back into the ownership of the borough council so we are able to facilitate this development.

"I like the retention of the brick warehouse - it recognises our industrial heritage.

A CGI image of what the new-look Burtons arts and media hub could look like. Picture: DAN FISHERA CGI image of what the new-look Burtons arts and media hub could look like. Picture: DAN FISHER

"I hope this development will enhance the area and kickstart regeneration of the Waterfront gateway."

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The council bought the building in 2015 for £210,000, and has worked to acquire other parts of the Waterfront entrance in a bid to regenerate the area and create a better link to the town centre.

The Burton's factory has lain empty for more than 20 years, and it is hoped the plan will lead to further regeneration of the Paul's silo building, while plans for a better public open space have also been mooted.

Gecko theatre comapny is the first tenant announced for the new arts and media hub in the old Burton's building. Picture: RICHARD HAUGHTONGecko theatre comapny is the first tenant announced for the new arts and media hub in the old Burton's building. Picture: RICHARD HAUGHTON

While no further tenants have yet been confirmed, the county's official film office Screen Suffolk has expressed an interest in occupying space there.

Ipswich Borough Council's planning portfolio holder Carole Jones said: "It's so wonderful to get an application that hopefully will mean Gecko can expand and improve our historic Waterfront."

The warehouse was originally meant to be developed as part of the Cardinal Lofts flats built in 2004, but never came to fruition.

It is not yet clear when work will start on the scheme.

Carole Jones, planning portfolio-holder, said it would improve the historic Waterfront area. Picture: SU ANDERSONCarole Jones, planning portfolio-holder, said it would improve the historic Waterfront area. Picture: SU ANDERSON

It is understood the project is dependent on external funding streams being secured, although it has not been disclosed how much is needed.

Last year work to resurface the access road and paving were completed.

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