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Historic building on Ipswich waterfront set for major revamp - but not everyone is happy

PUBLISHED: 07:30 31 October 2019 | UPDATED: 09:44 31 October 2019

No. 4 College Street, Ipswich, which is to be revamped. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

No. 4 College Street, Ipswich, which is to be revamped. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

More than £400,000 will be spent by Ipswich Borough Council to safeguard a prominent listed building close to the waterfront - which is currently deemed to be 'at risk'.

David Ellesmere in front of the buildings that the council have just purchased on the Ipswich Waterfront. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNDavid Ellesmere in front of the buildings that the council have just purchased on the Ipswich Waterfront. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A heated meeting of Ipswich Borough Council's executive on Tuesday night discussed the future of 4 College Street, the Grade II-Listed property on the corner of College Street and Bridge Street.

The authority bought the site in October 2016 as part of the wider Waterfront gateway site.

The timber-framed house, believed to have been constructed in the 16th or 17th Century is one of five Ipswich buildings on the 'at risk' register, and is in need of urgent repairs.

On Tuesday, the council agreed to throw £423,000 into making the repairs happen.

Ipswich Conservative group leader Ian Fisher raised concerns that more money would be needed on top of the £423,000 once the masterplan for the whole area had been completed. Picture: IPSWICH COUNCILIpswich Conservative group leader Ian Fisher raised concerns that more money would be needed on top of the £423,000 once the masterplan for the whole area had been completed. Picture: IPSWICH COUNCIL

Labour council leader David Ellesmere said: "This is the only building at risk the borough council owns. It was in a very poor state when we bought the whole site but it's incumbent on us that we lead the way in bringing buildings at risk back into use."

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The council is currently drawing up a masterplan for the whole of the Waterfront entrance, which includes the temporary car park area and features proposals to turn the old Burton's factory into a media hub.

But Conservative group leader Ian Fisher questioned the amount of money being spent on the 4 College Street revamp when further changes may be needed depending on what the masterplan comes back with.

He said: "That's an absolutely staggering amount for a property of that size.

"Should we really be spending that amount of money and lease it to someone for one of the most premium locations at a peppercorn rate?

"We should be looking at something more aspirational than an office."

Mr Ellesmere said the revamp would secure the building's future and allow it to bring in short term income while the wider masterplan was still being drawn up.

Work will begin soon on making the necessary improvements, with an eye to securing a tenant from next summer once work had been completed.

Paving work by Ipswich and Suffolk councils was completed earlier in the year, while the borough council lodged plans for a media and arts space in the old Burton's factory.

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