Massive new centre unveiled

A £23 million scheme to create a new district centre at the heart of the Ravenswood development was unveiled today.This will include the construction of two supermarkets, other shops, a fast-food restaurant, and many other community facilities.

A £23 million scheme to create a new district centre at the heart of the Ravenswood development was unveiled today.

This will include the construction of two supermarkets, other shops, a fast-food restaurant, and many other community facilities.

It will also see the conversion of the listed terminal building into 24 homes - with a new community centre fashioned out of the old squash courts at the site.

The proposal has been part of the blueprint for the new community since its construction on the old airport was first proposed.


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Last year Cambridge-based Ashwell Properties won the race to develop the district centre at Ravenswood and artists impressions showing the new site were published.

Now the deal to create the district centre, which will cost £23 million, has been formally agreed with Ipswich Council which owns the former airport site.

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The key elements of the new development are:

n62 two-bedroom homes, a proportion of which will be designated shared equity/key worker housing.

nShopping complex incorporating 12 retail units, including two food stores, bakery, pharmacy, newsagent and a range of otherlocal shops.

nFast-food restaurant .

nCombined health centre and clinic.

nA children's nursery.

nModern community centre.

nPublic square.

nMore than 200 car parking spaces located across the site

nCricket pavilion.

nPedestrian / cycle links with the Ravenswood community and the surrounding area

Work on the new district centre is due to start next month, and be completed by summer 2005.

"Ashwell Properties are anxious complete this all at the same time, to have a 'big bang' opening rather than finish things in phases," said borough council Ravenswood development officer John Stebbings.

"Once this work is completed, it will give a focus to the whole Ravenswood development."

Jonathan Clog from Ashwell Properties said the work was relatively straightforward and his company had had great help from the council with bringing the plans forward.

The last part of the development to be completed was likely to be terminal building because work here had to be carefully undertaken and approved at every stage because of its listing.

"We already have tenants lined up for most of, if not all, the retail units - including both of the food supermarkets," he said.

The Evening Star understands one of the supermarkets will be run by the Ipswich and Norwich Co-op, although the deal for this has not been formally approved yet.

So far 580 of the 1,000 homes planned for Ravenswood have been completed.

Construction on the site is expected to continue for another two to three years, by which time it should be complete.

nWhat do you think of the proposed new district centre for Ravenswood? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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