New Waterfront development on the way

A MAJOR new riverside development of homes, shops, bars and cafés is in the pipeline for Ipswich town centre, The Evening Star can reveal today.Ipswich Council is keen to boost its coffers and has earmarked the Village Car Park on West End Road as prime saleable real estate.

A MAJOR new riverside development of homes, shops, bars and cafés is in the pipeline for Ipswich town centre, The Evening Star can reveal today.

Ipswich Council is keen to boost its coffers and has earmarked the Village Car Park on West End Road as prime saleable real estate.

Richard Atkins, responsible for planning and economic development, said the council is likely to sell the land, sited opposite the authority's Grafton House offices, at some stage in the future.

However he added the process is currently in its early stages.

He said: “It is a gateway site for anyone coming into Ipswich by train.

“It is one of the first things you would see if you leave the station and walk over the bridge.

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“The thoughts are that it should probably be a mixed development - housing, commercial and parking.

“If you think of the work being done to improve the walk along the river it could be useful to have some cafes and bars overlooking the water there.”

The first stage of the process will come up for discussion at a meeting of the borough council's executive next Tuesday.

It is proposed that the council earmark close to £1million to reposition a major powerline from underneath the car park to make it more suitable for development.

The £800,000 cost has already been raised through funding from the East of England Development Agency and the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Mr Atkins said: “If the site was to be developed and somebody put a JCB through the cable the entire Port of Felixstowe would go dark.

“It is quite a massive cable with an enormous amount of power going through it.”

The work has been recommended for approval by council officers.

Should future development go ahead on the site it will add to what is likely to become an increasingly vibrant area of town.

A site off Ranelagh Road, immediately opposite the Village Car Park, is already earmarked for a Ramada Encore hotel.

Developers Fairview want to build a 127-bed hotel on the plot of land.

The building is intended as part of a development of 358 apartments currently being constructed further along the river Orwell.

An application for the hotel is currently being considered by town planners.

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