Ipswich dock revamp set for completion

IPSWICH Wet Dock's transformation is set to be completed with the conversion of the last working industrial plant into flats, shops, and restaurants, the Evening Star can reveal today.

IPSWICH Wet Dock's transformation is set to be completed with the conversion of the last working industrial plant into flats, shops, and restaurants, the Evening Star can reveal today.

The Pauls Maltings buildings are to be redeveloped soon after production comes to an end later this year.

Sandwiched between the Cranfields site – which is being developed into flats, shops, and a dance centre – and the historic Old Customs House, Pauls Maltings is a key location on the Wet Dock.

The massive 1960s-built silo at Pauls Maltings will be demolished, but new owner Knight Developments hopes to retain most of the original Victorian building.

Company managing director William Anthony said: "This is a very important site and a major project for us.

"It is certainly our intention to retain as much as we can of the original building – the frontage on to the waterfront will remain but when you get further back it gets more problematic.

Most Read

"But we've got our people working on it and we want to see what we can do to retain as much as possible.

"The big tower will have to come down, and on that site we will do something that is in character and scale with the area – especially the Old Custom House."

Mr Anthony said his company – which is based at Kelvedon in Essex – had already been in touch with planners and hoped to publish a detailed scheme in about three months' time.

"Then it has to go through the planning process and we would have to draw up a programme of work. With the best will in the world I think it will take us about a year to get things going on the ground," he said.

Head of planning at Ipswich council Mike Smith said: "There has not yet been any formal planning application, so in that sense it is still early days.

"But it is certainly encouraging that they have already started talking to us about what should happen to the building.

"And it is good that the site has been sold to a developer who wants to get on and do things there – not just sit on it to transfer it to another landowner."

Several different buildings are involved in the sale – from the original maltings built in 1870 to 1960s silos.

Mr Smith said there were challenges in conversion work on the buildings – partly because of the height of the ceilings.

"We will be very keen to keep as much of the Victorian maltings as possible, especially the frontage on to the Waterfront.

"But there are difficulties, one of the biggest is the very nature of the building – historic maltings had very low floors, the ceilings are only about six feet off the floor," he said.

Knight Developments' architect, David Charles, said it was still very early days to say exactly what form the work would take.

"That is a very important site and in general terms we would want to carry on the theme established on the Cranfields site," he said.

"The whole Waterfront area of Ipswich has so much potential it is a very exciting development," he said.

Ipswich council chief executive James Hehir welcomed the news that the maltings was to be redeveloped.

"This is a very important building, and really does represent the last piece in the jigsaw along that part of the Waterfront.

"We hope work on that will start soon, along with work on Cranfields – we feel we've pushed the boulder over the top of the hill so far as the Waterfront is concerned and it is now developing its own momentum," he said.

What do you think of the Waterfront development? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter