Ipswich: Waterfront’s ‘skeleton’ building is unlikely to be completed

IPSWICH: The empty skeleton of the Regatta Quay development is unlikely to ever be completed, The Evening Star can reveal today.

And now the town’s MP has stepped in to call for the concrete building to be pulled down now before it becomes an enduring monument to the recession in Ipswich!

However that seems unlikely – the Star has been told that it would cost an estimated �1 million to pull down the concrete skeleton that was only put up two years ago.

Experts are agreed that there is no immediate threat to the structural integrity of the building – but no one expects it ever to be completed and are convinced it will eventually have to come down.

Officials from the borough’s planning and building control departments monitor the site to ensure it remains structurally secure and are confident that there is no immediate danger to it.

However industry experts are concerned that exposure to the British climate is likely to have caused long term damage to the unprotected concrete – and this would make it impossible to obtain a warranty for any work.

And that would make any construction based on the skeleton uninsureable.

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All this has led Ipswich MP to call for the building to be demolished now to allow the rest of the site to be developed.

He said: “It is unsightly. It would be better to clear that area of the site and open it up as an open space to encourage some of the other units to be developed.

“Then in a few years time when the economy picks up there could be another development there but in the meantime we would not be left with this eyesore.”

Mr Gummer’s suggestion did not go down well with the borough council, which is now controlled by the Labour Party.

Economic development spokeswoman Carole Jones asked who would pay for the demolition: “It’s all very well for him to talk like that. Talk is cheap, demolition of a large building like that would be expensive,” she said.

Experts are understood to have estimated that it would cost about �1million to bring down the building.

Ms Jones said council experts had checked the building and concluded it was safe. She added: “Of course we hope that development will continue there as soon as possible.”

The wine rack was built nearly two years ago by City Living developments as the second tower block of Regatta Quay.

However before it could be fitted out City Living called in administrators and it has remained unfinished – a symbol of the recession’s effect on the Waterfront.

Since then there have been persistent rumours that the concrete could have been damaged by its exposure to the elements over two harsh winters – but administrators Grant Thornton said there was not currently a problem with the structure.

n What do you think should be done with the ‘wine rack’? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk