Clearing pigeon mess vital to Ipswich Waterfront rebirth

David Ellesmere at Ipswich Waterfront

David Ellesmere outside the pigeon-blighted silo on Ipswich Waterfront. - Credit: Archant

Just days after the government confirmed that Ipswich would be getting £25m as part of the Towns Deal Fund, the borough is taking the first steps towards pressing ahead with one of the most significant elements of its proposed developments.

It is preparing to appoint specialists to clean up the interior of the former Paul's Specialist Maltings silo between Stoke Bridge and Dance East which has been empty for more than a decade.

The inside of the building is so seriously contaminated with pigeon droppings that it has been impossible for anyone to get inside to examine the structure - and the cost could run into six figures.

This needs to be completely cleared by specialists using high-powered cleaning equipment and protective clothing before surveyors can get inside the building, work out its structural integrity, and help architects work out a plan for its future.

Ipswich council's executive is to be asked to approve the appointment of specialist cleaners at next week's meeting - and council leader David Ellesmere said this would not be a cheap operation.

He said: "This is a very big job, the amount of pigeon droppings in there is horrendous and it is a very big job. We don't know what the cost will be but we know it could run into six figures."

The work is not part of the Towns Deal Funding - the item was put on the executive's agenda before the Chancellor's announcement during Wednesday's budget speech.

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Mr Ellesmere said: "We knew this had to be done whatever. Until the building is cleared of the pigeon droppings we cannot get inside and do anything further so we knew the decision had to be made."

The restoration and redevelopment of the silo - and its probable conversion into a new use - is not included in the Towns Deal bid. But tidying it up externally as part of a redevelopment of the entrance to the Waterfront is one of the key projects of the bid.

That work, including turning the some of the redundant buildings opposite Dance East into an arts centre, is expected to be prioritised now the grant has been confirmed.

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