Former Queen’s Head pub in Ipswich could become night shelter

The former Queens Head pub in Civic Drive, Ipswich. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

The former Queens Head pub in Civic Drive, Ipswich. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

A former pub on the edge of Ipswich town centre could become the new permanent home for the Ipswich Winter Night Shelter if planners give the go-ahead next week.

The old Queen’s Head building on Civic Drive has been empty for many years. Its last use was as a drugs rehabilitation centre but that closed several years ago and since then it has been empty.

Now Selig Suffolk, a local charity run by a group of churches in the town, has applied for permission to turn it into a new night shelter and offices for the group.

Selig has run the winter night shelter in Ipswich for several years. At first it provided accommodation in different sites on a rolling basis throughout the winter from November to March.

Then it used the St Nicholas Centre – but now it is looking for its own permanent base.

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In its application it stresses that it only provides accommodation for those who are referred to it by the council or other reputable organisations – and it would have a maximum of 15 visitors a night. Over the last four years the shelter has had an average of nine people a night staying at its premises.

The application would also see rooms in the former pub used as offices and training centres for charity staff and volunteers throughout the year – and the ground floor shelter would be used for other purposes including training and conferences when it was not in use as a shelter.

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In its planning application Selig says: “The site will re-home a successful local charity, with a proven track record in providing tangible benefits to homeless guests and tenants in Ipswich, whilst also providing the local community with a new community space that can be used by other local organisations.”

Planning officers are recommending that members of the borough’s planning and development committee give permission for the change of use at next Wednesday’s meeting which will be conducted online. The building is owned by the borough council.

The report says: “The proposal would provide a much-needed night shelter facility and assist with the aims of achieving healthy, inclusive and safe places. The proposal involves the conversion of a former public house use in a sustainable and accessible location.”

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