Revealed: Ipswich town centre properties owned by the borough council
PUBLISHED: 19:30 30 November 2018
Ipswich council has come under fire this week after it was announced that its investment company had bought Beardmore Park retail centre at Martlesham Heath – which many see as being in direct competition with the town centre.
The borough does, however, already own a significant portfolio of properties in the heart of Ipswich – either to produce a rental income, guarantee the way historic buildings are managed . . . or both.
Some civic sites are self-evidently council-owned – the Town Hall, the Corn Exchange, Ipswich Museum, borough car parks, Crown Pools, and Christchurch Park and Mansion.
However other buildings are also in the council’s ownership and are rented out to tenants or looking for new occupiers.
It is widely known that the currently-empty Old Post Office building on the Cornhill is owned by the borough – but the council also owns the former Queen’s Head/Victoria pub on the corner of Civic Drive and St Matthew’s Street that is also looking for a new occupier.
It owns the Rep pub in Tower Street and the buildings next to it. And it owns the freehold of both the Regent Theatre (which it also runs) and the New Wolsey.
The Ancient House – occupied by Lakeland – is part of the borough portfolio – so are St Lawrence, St Stepehens, and St Peter’s churches which have all found new uses over the last decade.
Further afield, some of the major office blocks in the town are owned by the council including half of the Axa building in Civic Drive, and the company’s multi-storey car park, the Curtis Banks (formerly Suffolk Life) building in Princes Street and the Royal Mail sorting office.
The council also owns land it hopes to redevelop in Princes Street, including the site of the former Drum and Monkey pub and the garage next to it.
One site it does not want to redevelop is the football ground at Portman Road. The council owns the land which is leased to the club – but Ipswich Town owns the stands and all the other buildings on the land.
In earlier years the council has rebuffed attempts by the club to buy the freehold of the land – saying its interest ensures that the club remains in the town centre with easy access for fans from the heart of Ipswich and the railway station.