Traffic problems as restoration of historic Ipswich house starts

4 College Street

Work has started on the restoration of 4 College Street. - Credit: Paul Geater

Work has finally started on restoring one of the most historic buildings in the Waterfront area in Ipswich as scaffolding has gone up around 4 College Street.

However that does mean three months of traffic restrictions in that part of the Waterfront because one lane of College Street has had to be closed near the junction with the gyratory system roundabout.

The building, which dates from the 16th century, was originally a merchant's house - but it has been unoccupied since the early 1980s.

it had been abandoned for decades and on an "at risk" register - and was threatened with further damage because it is so close to the busy road.

It was bought by the borough council in 2016 as part of the purchase of the land at the Stoke Bridge entrance to the Waterfront, but it has taken until now to draw up plans to restore it.

The borough agreed earlier this year to go ahead with the restoration and once that is carried out they will look for a tenant to occupy the building.

The building is expected to end up in commercial use - it will not be residential.

However, there have been calls for it to be turned into a visitor centre at the entrance to the Waterfront to help explain the history and importance of the original part of the town.

4 College Street work

Motorists could face a lane closure until February as work continues on 4 College Street. - Credit: Paul Geater

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The closure of one of the lanes has been causing problems for traffic, especially at rush hours, but a spokesman for the borough council said there was no way of avoiding that because the building is on the street with a narrow pavement in front of it and there was no way of avoiding a partial closure if the restoration is to go ahead.

The scaffolding should come down by early February - and while the work continues there are temporary pedestrian crossing lights instead of the normal lights that are out of action.

Council leader David Ellesmere said the borough had already had some interest from potential occupiers of the building and the final details of the restoration would be left until it was known what the tenants wanted.