Green light given for clearance work to begin in Waterfront landmark
- Credit: Su Anderson
Progress on the regeneration of the entrance to Ipswich Waterfront has taken a step forward, after specialist cleaning work in a quayside landmark was agreed.
Approval has been given by Ipswich Borough Council's executive for a contractor to be appointed to carry out industrial cleaning work in the former R&W Paul Ltd silo - a derelict high-rise empty for 23 years.
Council chiefs said mesh had been put up to stop birds getting in to the building now, but has such significant quantities of bird mess inside that workers cannot get inside to carry out structural assessments. Those are required to help determine future plans for the building.
With work progressing on the old Burton's site next door, and the next phase of that due to begin this spring, work on the Paul's silo can now begin.
Borough council leader David Ellesmere said: "We are making steady progress on the new developments at the Ipswich Waterfront.
"This is a large building - the largest unoccupied building still on the Waterfront It has been empty for 23 years.
"It has only relatively recently been purchased by the council, and for a long period before the council took ownership, pigeons and other wildlife had access to the building.
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"Since we purchased the building we have installed mesh to prevent birds entering the building, but it is a pretty toxic environment in there at the moment, and that means it is not possible to enter the building safely and carry out a full structural survey.
"Undertaking those cleaning works are an essential precondition on being able to make a decision about its future, so these are very necessary works."
The council bought the building in early 2018, and, as the final piece in the jigsaw for owning property at the Waterfront gateway, a masterplan for the area is being developed.
The former Burton's warehouse is being transformed into a base for international dance and theatre company Gecko, while the adjacent Burton's silo will become a digital, arts and media hub. The council's executive agreed for design packages to progress for that portion of the old Burton's facility.
A decision on the future of the RAW Paul silo will be made when the structural surveys have taken place but could become homes, while ambitions have already been voiced for the adjacent temporary car park to become a public open space linking the town centre and the Waterfront.
Around £3million of funding has been earmarked by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership for the Burton's silo, while the Paul's silo will be funded from the £25m Towns Fund bid, which was given the green light as part of the Chancellor's Budget last week.
A final sum for that has not yet been given, but Mr Ellesmere said it was likely to be "several million pounds".