Ipswich's Old Post Office likely to be restored to original Victorian state
PUBLISHED: 07:30 12 March 2019
The landmark former post office in Ipswich town centre is to undergo nine months of repairs and refurbishment in a bid to make it more attractive to a new tenant.
The Cornhill building has been empty since Lloyds Bank left in 2015 – but it has been owned by Ipswich Borough Council for many years.
However, it needs repairs to the roof and other parts of the building – so the borough has decided to use the opportunity of its being empty to carry out wide-ranging works to take it back to its condition when it opened in 1881.
The work will include removing the fittings that were installed in the Victorian building when it became a bank in the 1990s, making alterations to ensure it is easier to maintain in the future and improving protection against birds and damage from their droppings.
Among the work to be carried out is the removal of a dormer window on the east side of the roof, which is difficult to maintain and which cannot be seen from the ground.
The report on the work says: “Parts of the exterior are difficult and costly to access and have consequently been left unmaintained for many years.
“The opportunity is available, while the building is scaffolded, to address some features that are an impediment to future maintenance or which thus put the put the building as a whole at risk of deterioration.”
A spokesman for the borough said officials hoped to start work on the project in the autumn and that they expected this to take about nine months.
It is looking for a tenant for the building that is officially known as Number One, Cornhill, but the search is likely to be put on the back-burner while the restoration work is being undertaken.
The council expects it will be easier to find a tenant for the building once the bank fixtures are removed and its external structure has been full restored.
By the summer of 2020 the Grade II listed building should be back to its original condition and the borough is expected to launch a major marketing campaign to attract a big-name tenant.
It is thought that a restaurant or a leisure operator is more likely to be attracted to it than a retailer because the steps at the main entrance would be a deterrent to casual shoppers – and it there could be no display windows.