Museum Street set for new homes after law firm Birketts moves out

The new Birketts building taking shape in Princes Street, Ipswich. Picture: PAUL GEATER

The new Birketts building taking shape in Princes Street, Ipswich. Picture: PAUL GEATER - Credit: Archant

One of the most historic streets in Ipswich is likely to return to being a residential hub of the town again once its largest business moves to new offices next spring.

The offices at the junction of Museum Street and Arcade Street that are to be converted into flats.

The offices at the junction of Museum Street and Arcade Street that are to be converted into flats. Picture: PAUL GEATER - Credit: Archant

The first planning application to turn former offices in Museum Street back into homes is due to be discussed by the borough’s planning committee next week – with a recommendation from officers that the application should be approved.

That is expected to be followed by more similar applications once Ipswich-based solicitor Birketts have moved to their new offices in Princes Street next spring.

Birketts have been based in Museum Street since 1863 when Benjamin Birkett started the business from the front room of his townhouse.

Over the next few decades the company bought more properties in the street as it expanded – but now it is preparing to move to purpose-built offices currently nearing completion.


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Matthew Rowe from Birketts said: “The building itself in Princes Street is now almost complete. It should be structurally finished in about a month’s time but then there will be about three months fitting it out fully.

“Because that includes the Christmas and New Year period, it means we aim to be in there by April.”

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The move would enable Museum Street to revert to its original use as a residential area: “The current offices will probably be sold and converted into homes – they should be very attractive to some buyers,” Mr Rowe added.

An application to convert disused offices on the junction of Museum Street and Arcade Street into eight flats and a bedsit will be considered by the borough’s planning and development committee next Wednesday – some of the offices were previously used by Birketts.

Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere welcomed the application: “We are looking to encourage more people to live in the town centre and these historic buildings have the potential to become very attractive homes right next to the town centre.

“We would be equally happy if anyone wanted to use them as offices – but I think converting them into flats is probably the way forward for most of the Birketts offices.”

The area would be attractive for homebuyers – the security would be good with the town’s police station as a neighbour!

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