New hotels coming to town

A £75 MILLION development including three hotels is on the cards for the Ipswich waterfront, The Evening Star can reveal today.The glass-facade development, at St Peter's Port, between College Street and Star Lane, will also have a restaurant, shopping centre, apartments and underground car park if it is given the go-ahead.

A £75 MILLION development including three hotels is on the cards for the Ipswich waterfront, The Evening Star can reveal today.

The glass-facade development, at St Peter's Port, between College Street and Star Lane, will also have a restaurant, shopping centre, apartments and underground car park if it is given the go-ahead.

Developers, Braceforce, have submitted an application to the Ipswich council for planning permission and have also announced that demolition on the Cardinal Lofts site will start on April 11.

Max Hembry, project manager for Braceforce, said: "All of the three hotels have now been pre-let to companies.


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"Other plans include a 450 space car park underground, 30 apartments, a shopping mall and a restaurant.

"The whole thing will have a great look and will use more glass than the Willis building.

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"We think the site will provide a new identity for Ipswich."

It is expected that the project will take in the region of two-and-a-half years to complete.

Preparations for the demolition of the Cardinal Lofts site, in the former Burtons factory on the other side of College Street, will start on April 4 with work going on inside including the removal of existing fittings.

On April 11 work will begin to take out the old windows on the part of the site that will remain before five floors will be bolted on to the top of the building.

Mr Hembry added: "Within three months the part of the building that is being renovated will be re-glazed and will look like a finished building. It will look fantastic.

"When you apply to build something like this, you have to satisfy the environment agency and we have done that.

"We are happy with the way the planning stages have gone and it is now just a matter of getting on and finishing it."

Cardinal Lofts is due for completion in April 2006.

The St Peter's Port development will be on one of the most historically important sites in the town.

The original Anglo-Saxon settlement of Gipeswic - the earliest English town - grew up around the Stoke Bridge area, the highest point at which the River Orwell could be crossed.

The site was re-used over the centuries, and was also the site of Cardinal Wolsey's college in the 1530s.

The only remaining part of that college is Wolsey's Gate, which now fronts on to College Street.

Before any major development can happen there, councillors will almost certainly insist on a full archaelogical dig.

And there will also be concerns about the traffic network in the area - the St Peter's Port site is effectively on the central reservation of a dual carriageway which is the main route around Ipswich town centre.

There are proposals to turn the College Street/Key Street and Salthouse Street route into a "green route" for buses, cycles and taxis with other traffic using Star Lane - but this proposal is still at an early stage and there are concerns that it could lead to major traffic congestion.

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