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Crown multi-storey in Ipswich finally opens its gates - six months late

PUBLISHED: 06:00 30 July 2018

The new Crown Car Park in Ipswich is ready to open. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

The new Crown Car Park in Ipswich is ready to open. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

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Ipswich's new multi-storey Crown Car Park opens at noon on Monday - six months late - providing 541 new spaces for visitors to the town centre.

Executive member Carole Jones and Ipswich Council leader David Ellesmere in the lift at the new Crown Car Park. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCILExecutive member Carole Jones and Ipswich Council leader David Ellesmere in the lift at the new Crown Car Park. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

The new park replaces the 800-space car park that closed in 2009 and was demolished the following year after its “concrete cancer” became irreparable.

Since 2010 the site had been operated as a surface car park for 236 spaces, but this closed last May for work to start. It had been due to be finished in January – but construction problems have delayed the hand over of the £5.5m car park to the council.

Borough leader David Ellesmere said the council would be talking to the contractors about possibly invoking penalty clauses over the delay to the work – but he was very impressed by the new park.

He said: “It has taken longer than we hoped, but it is undoubtedly the finest car park in Ipswich. I am sure visitors and shoppers will love to use it.

The electric charging points at the new Crown Car Park in Ipswich. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCILThe electric charging points at the new Crown Car Park in Ipswich. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

“We have very attractive prices for the park and it is very central for the town centre. I am delighted it is finally ready to open for people coming to the town centre.”

Mr Ellesmere inspected the car park at the weekend before it opens to the public. Staff have been busy over the weekend completing the pedestrian access to the new building next to Crown Pools.

The car park has an opening offer of £1 an hour – and entry after 2pm is a flat £2 charge. It is open until 11.30 at night to make it attractive to visitors to the Regent or New Wolsey theatres.

It will be a pay-on-foot park, with users paying just before they leave the park, and it includes several spaces with charging points for electric vehicles.

Developing new high-quality car parking facilities has been a key element of Ipswich Central’s strategy to improve the town centre.

The organisation’s chairman Terry Baxter welcomed the park’s opening: “I think it is a project the whole town should welcome. Parking is always the number one issue, and this will make a huge difference to the town centre. It is a bit late opening, but now it is finished it shows the town centre is on the up.”

The car park has been build to a modular design over about two thirds of the footprint of the original park. If necessary an extension could be build in the future to create a new park for between 700 and 800 vehicles if the demand grows.

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