Date set for decision on plans for old Burton’s building
PUBLISHED: 19:00 02 January 2020
Plans to turn an eyesore Waterfront landmark into an arts and media hub are set to get the go-ahead next week.
Ipswich Borough Council unveiled plans last summer to overhaul the old Burton's factory and adjoining warehouse, which would include a base for international dance and theatre organisation Gecko, as well as a cafe or restaurant and space for digital and tech start ups.
The council, which bought the building in 2015 for £210,000, submitted a formal application in August, with those plans set to be heard at Wednesday's planning committee.
In its planning application, the borough council said: "The two buildings, and the new link between them, will host a range of creative activities that will consolidate the Ipswich Waterfront as a place where ideas come together.
"Whether Gecko Theatre creating physical theatre to be sent around the world, or Ipswich's strong and growing screen and digital tech sectors having a hub in which to work, network and grow, this complex of buildings will be unique in Ipswich and East Anglia."
It added: "This creative hub could be the start of a wider creative cluster in this area, offering significant opportunities for business growth and development in this sector."
As well as the arts organisations, the new facility could also include up to 14 flats and a bar.
Planning officers at the council have recommended the scheme be given approval for delegation to the head of development, subject to developer contributions being signed off.
Those include £33,192 contributions each to primary and pre-school education facilities.
The buildings have been empty for well over 20 years, and had originally been part of proposals for flats as part of the Cardinal Lofts scheme in 2004, but never came to fruition.
In their report, planning officers said it had been identified for "potential residential capacity" but added "balanced against this is the fact that to date the development of the site has stalled".
Gecko's artistic director Amit Lahav previously said it would be a "revolutionary space" generating national attention, while Ipswich Central showed "strong support" for the plans.
If approved next week, it is not yet clear when work will start.
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