The Hold gets planning permission despite Ipswich Society concern

Artist's impression of The Hold, the new Suffolk Records' Office for Ipswich. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNT

Artist's impression of The Hold, the new Suffolk Records' Office for Ipswich. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

Plans to build a new records office and heritage centre on the University of Suffolk campus near Ipswich Waterfront have been formally approved by Suffolk County Council.

But there is still concern about the £20m building’s design which has come under fire from the Ipswich Society for being “a mundane series of boxes.”

The new centre, called The Hold, will deliver a new home for the bulk of Suffolk’s unique archival collections, as well as state-of-the-art public facilities and teaching spaces for the University of Suffolk.

The Hold is expected to attract 19,500 visitors per year, seeking to research local history, to find out about their families, or to take part in events and activities, and is scheduled to open by the end of 2019.

The total cost of the project is expected to be more than £20m. The county council has pledged £5m for the building and the university £1m. The project team has already secured development funding of £538,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and have recently received notification of a £80,000 grant from the Wolfson Foundation.


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The Wolfson Foundation is an independent charity which awards grant to support and promote excellence in the fields of science, health, education and the arts and humanities, including museums and galleries, historic buildings and landscapes.

The Hold’s project team is also hoping to be awarded a further £10m from the HLF to complete the project and a decision on this is expected in April.

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Cabinet member Tony Goldson said: “This is fantastic news for The Hold and we’re very pleased to now continue with its development work. Building work will start in the Spring. I hope that both the people of Suffolk and visitors to the county will embrace our new state of the art Heritage Centre.”

However Ipswich Society chairman John Norman, writing in the society’s newsletter, is scathing about the modern design of the building.

He wrote: “What is proposed is a mundane series of boxes, an anywhere building without presence, panache or style.

“With acres of flat roof, miles of featureless walls, on a site that has no relationship with its surroundings – not even a masterplan to explain how it will eventually contribute to the wider campus.”

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