Link to the past included in dock plan

A MARITIME museum looks set to be included in the £36 million redevelopment of the Ipswich Waterfront to provide a lasting link with the dock's past.The Ipswich Maritime Trust has received a "positive" response to its calls for a tie to be established with the town's maritime history as the area embarks on an exciting new phase of development.

A MARITIME museum looks set to be included in the £36 million redevelopment of the Ipswich Waterfront to provide a lasting link with the dock's past.

The Ipswich Maritime Trust has received a "positive" response to its calls for a tie to be established with the town's maritime history as the area embarks on an exciting new phase of development.

It is hoped a museum of some sort will be included in the transformation of the 2.5 acre derelict Cranfields flour mill site into vibrant arts, business and residential centre.

Stuart Grimwade, a director of the trust, said talks had been held with the East of England Development Agency (EEDA), the architects and the developers, Wharfside Regeneration.

"We made an approach to EEDA about our needs for a display area and their response was very positive indeed, said Mr Grimwade.

"We're at the stage now of waiting to discuss details with the architects for the generation scheme. The architects are very keen to promote maritime history and create a display in the dock area."

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John Lyall, the architect of the project, said he was very keen to include an element of the historic maritime past of Ipswich.

He said: "I can't say we will put up a building with maritime museum written above the door but we would like to include them in some way.

"It's early days as yet as to how will do it, but certainly they are a good bunch and we would like to involve them."

Mr Grimwade welcomed the news and said Ipswich had been crying out for a maritime museum for many years.

"It's something Ipswich has been needing for a while, he said. "As the area changes from a traditional working dock, the need to remember the history of it becomes greater all of the time.

"Once we are confident we've got a suitable space, we will have no problems filling it. We've got a lot of material which we know would be suitable for it."

An planning application for the scheme as a whole is expected to be made in the next few weeks.

Included in the development will be space for the Ipswich Film Theatre, which is moving from the Ipswich Corn Exchange, and a studio for Dance East. An arts centre, restaurants, officers, loft-style apartments, a fitness suite and an 80-bed hotel will also be built on the site.

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