Could Sir Bobby statue move in plans for hotel and car park?
PUBLISHED: 17:51 29 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:52 29 January 2020
Major development proposals understood to include a hotel, multi-storey car park and offices in Ipswich could potentially see the Sir Bobby Robson statue moved, it has emerged.
According to the Ipswich Borough Council local plan, the Old Cattle Market site in Portman Road is earmarked for 'hotel/leisure' purposes.
Last year £7m proposals for the area moved a step closer with the closure of two car garages.
However a council spokesman confirmed there is now a provision included where the statue could have to move - but only if the proposal extends to cover that part of Portman Road.
"Development would need to carefully consider the relocation of this statue, with regard to the football ground," bosses say in newly published local plan documents.
"The scheme could perhaps incorporate a public space or plaza along the Portman Road frontage which would provide the statue with a planned setting, which would improve the surroundings in which the statue can be experienced."
The council spokesman added: "We want to reassure everyone that the statues of Sir Bobby, Sir Alf and, in due course, Kevin Beattie will always be a key feature of the Portman Road landscape.
"We are not expecting any proposals (in that part of Portman Road), but it is responsible to consider alternatives should the need arise."
Signs urging the public to share their views on the proposed use of the land went up next to the former Drum and Monkey site this week.
Next door, the former car garage units have been boarded up - with demolition expected to take place in February - and it is understood an office block will be built in their place.
In the meantime, the council is seeking temporary planning permission to extend the current Princes Street car park on the Drum and Monkey site to include some of the former garages site.
There is no word yet on which hotel chain will be moving into the nearby Drum and Monkey site.
A multi-storey car park providing an extra 400 spaces is also earmarked for land next to the Portman Road stadium, and contractors have already been announced for this.
Bosses also said bars and restaurants could potentially feature in the office block plans.
They added: "Secondary uses such as bars and eateries could be accommodated, possibly around the public space at ground floor, providing residential/office accommodation above."