Ipswich industrial site revamp for new depot to be pursued in £5.5m plans
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Multi-million pound plans to revamp a former industrial site as a new depot for Ipswich Borough Council's vehicle fleet have received backing from the authority's executive.
The committee on Tuesday unanimously agreed to pursue the purchase of the 10acre former Lebronze Alloys space in Hadleigh Road, adjacent to the council's existing Gipping House depot.
The authority said the current depot was no longer fit for purpose, and the new site would be developed to meet its needs.
The Lebronze site has 14 single-storey buildings which will be knocked down, as they do not meet the needs of either the council or the general market, and the authority will instead develop its own designs.
A sum of £5.5million has been set aside in the authority's budget to purchase the site, demolish the buildings and carry out designs for the new facility, but additional funds will be needed for the construction itself.
Those could come from the Public Works Loan Board, but the sum won't be known until the designs are completed, according to the council.
Labour borough council leader David Ellesmere said: "The council's current depot is no longer fit for purpose. Operationally it can probably be characterised as having too much indoor space for our needs and not enough outdoor space for modern requirements.
"The buildings are old and in need of significant investment.
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"The works required to bring the depot up to date are so substantial that it would not be possible for the council to operate from the site while they were undertaken.
"Recognising this, the council has been searching for some time for a new home for the depot. We have now identified a site which we believe fulfils our requirements - the former Lebronze Alloys site off Hadleigh Road.
"The site is large enough to accommodate the council's operational needs, and there may be some surplus land that can be used to generate additional income.
"The site also has some locational advantages because of its proximity to the current depot, it will not lead to extra mileage costs or the need to alter bin collection rounds.
"The intention is to build a completely new depot to modern carbon-neutral standards that will fulfil our climate emergency obligations and cheaper than trying to retrofit existing buildings."
The electric substation on site also means that the council can facilitate its growing fleet of electric vehicles, introduced as part of a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030.
Due diligence work will now begin with the executive's approval, with anticipated completion of the purchase in the next three months.
The designs will come before the council's executive once complete before planning permission is sought. Planned completion of the work is projected to be autumn 2023.
The Gipping House site was sold in 2012, with the council renting it since then while simultaneously searching for a new depot.