Mint quarter optimism curbed

THOSE behind the long-awaited Mint Quarter have curbed optimism that movement for the project could soon be imminent. Although Ipswich Borough Council has today revealed it is awaiting a planning outline from a chosen developer, owners of the land NCP have said they are still casting around for expertise.

THOSE behind the long-awaited Mint Quarter have curbed optimism that movement for the project could soon be imminent.

Although Ipswich Borough Council has today revealed it is awaiting a planning outline from a chosen developer, owners of the land NCP have said they are still casting around for expertise.

The project has been destined for the current car parks behind Woolworths but after years of discussion, so far no moves forward have been made.

However Mike Smith, head of planning for the council, said: "There is a lot of work to be done on the project but NCP has chosen a partner developer.

"We have had initial discussions with the developer and things are taking their course."

But, Tim Cowen, director of communications at NCP, said: "We are talking to a number of interested parties about ways of developing the Mint Quarter.

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"We have always been open about our aspirations for the area, which has an important role to play in the future development of Ipswich.

"Our plans are now beginning to take shape and we are hopeful that we will be able to announce further progress in due course.

"In the mean time we will be happy to discuss short term lets for the empty shops with any interested tenant.

"We are not able to offer long leases because of the development potential of the site, and our hopes that it can be redeveloped in conjunction with a partner."

The site was originally allocated for retail development by the council but after a partnership with Helical Retail fell through in 2003 it was opened up to plans for a mixed development of office, residential and retail space.

It has more recently been discussed as the location for a new bus station to combine the two existing ones at Tower Ramparts and the Old Cattle Market.

If a planning application is submitted in the near future, questions over what lies in store for the site will finally be answered.

What would you like to see for the Mint Quarter? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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