New vision for town centre site

A VISION for the future of Ipswich's former Civic Centre site has been unveiled for the first time as part of a public consultation.

Neil Puffett

A VISION for the future of Ipswich's former Civic Centre site has been unveiled for the first time as part of a public consultation.

Featuring a massive supermarket as well as landscaped walkways, a restaurant and large public space, developers Turnstone hope to get feedback on the scheme prior to applying for planning permission.

Draft plans show the scheme to be centred around the existing shape of the spiral car park, with a large amphitheatre-style seating area designed to allow for public performances.

Meanwhile the development will link up with the rest of Ipswich town centre via a walkway coming out on Westgate Street.

Nick Scott, director at Turnstone, said initial public feedback has been positive and will be taken into consideration before a final version is decided on.

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He said: “This is the first time we have gone public with the ideas and we are keen to gauge opinion.

“We have had good comment and feedback so far and we can take those comments on board and refine our scheme over the next few weeks with a view to lodging a planning application in the middle of August.”

He added that his firm was committed to delivering the scheme within the next three years despite current concerns over the state of the economy.

Landscape designer Rupert Dehaene-Gold said the design of the scheme was aimed at making the area pedestrian friendly.

“We want to make it a destination in its own right and create a venue that is a beginning and an end to Westgate Street,” he said.

The Civic Centre building is currently in the process of being demolished, with that phase of work likely to be completed by the end of the year.

Turnstone is understood to be in discussions with Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Asda about the site's 38,000 sq ft anchor store.

The revamped estate is also likely to include restaurants, bars and other leisure facilities.

Sue Brent, of Tuddenham Avenue: “It is certainly a site that needs developing. “It would be very nice if we had a nice new Waitrose or something there. “I think it could help that part of town - really both extreme ends of the town need boosting.

“They are looking very sad at the moment and anything that would improve that is good.”

Paul Cross, Martin Road, Ipswich: “I'm surprised that the building is being demolished as it is not that old really. It is comparatively modern in my view.

“I wouldn't have thought we needed more shops, we already have shops in the main street right to the end of the town.”

Rex Young, of Kesgrave: “As far as a supermarket goes, I thought the general idea was to get them out of town although the whole scheme is better than having that 60s building there.

“They are looking to bring that area more into the town centre and I am all for regeneration there.”