Lane closure close to waterfront will continue until late April

The lane on College Street has been closed since November last year. 

The lane on College Street has been closed since November last year. It was originally expected to reopen in February, but this is now expected to happen at the end of April. - Credit: Paul Geater

Disruption caused by a lane closure on a key town centre road will continue until the end of April because of an "unavoidable" delay.

The left-hand lane of College Street, near the waterfront, has been closed since November last year as Ipswich Borough Council carries out essential work to 4 College Street, a 16th century former merchant's house that has been on the 'at risk’ register for many years.

It has led to frustration for many motorists, with two lanes merging into one close to the Novotel roundabout.

Among those to voice concerns was Ipswich MP Tom Hunt.

Ipswich Borough Council have provided this photo, which shows the severity of the structural issues encountered

Ipswich Borough Council have provided this photo, which shows the severity of the structural issues encountered at 4 College Street. - Credit: Ipswich Borough Council

In a letter to borough council leader David Ellesmere, Mr Hunt said: “The inconvenience caused to residents commuting through the town is unacceptable for such an unduly long period.  

“I welcome that work is being carried out to bring this historic building back into use, and understand that some disruption would be caused as a result of essential works.  

“However, the extent of the disruption has now become intolerable for many of my constituents.”

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Cllr Ellesmere said: “The road closure was originally due to be lifted in February. However, unforeseen structural issues came to light as the renovation progressed.  

“This is not unusual when works are undertaken on buildings of this age, but these were particularly serious and put the whole front of the building in danger of collapse. This was a serious health and safety matter, and could not be ignored.”

He said the building was “in a serious state of disrepair” when the borough council purchased it in 2016, and since then, they have undertaken extensive preparatory work to carry out improvements and repairs to the site.

4 College Street is a 16th century former merchant's house in the centre of Ipswich. 

4 College Street is a 16th century former merchant's house in the centre of Ipswich. It has been unoccupied since the 1980s. - Credit: Paul Geater

He also said that the cost of the closure at 4 College Street was thought to be around £14,500 in total.

Cllr Ellesmere added: “I do appreciate that these works have led to inconvenience for motorists travelling through College Street but while this is certainly regrettable, it has also been unavoidable.”