Decision expected soon on plans for Unit 17 inflatable park

Unit 17 in Ipswich closed on April 17

Unit 17 in Ipswich closed on April 17. A planning application submitted to Ipswich Borough Council suggests turning it into an inflatable theme park. Picture: PHIL MORLEY - Credit: Archant

A national company hoping to open a new indoor inflatable park at a former Ipswich nightclub could hear a decision on the project soon.

Inflata Nation - which currently has eight indoor inflatable theme parks nationwide, the nearest to Ipswich being in Peterborough - wants to use the former Unit 17 to open the new business.

The project would see the 1,544sq m site above six ground floor units, consisting of various restaurants and eateries, revamped with a selection of exciting inflatables for all ages to enjoy.

Ipswich Borough Council officers are currently considering the proposals but could make a decision as early as this month if they are happy with the change of use.

Documents submitted to the council say the leisure industry is growing twice as fast as the retail sector.

The planning statement said: "The inflatable park will provide activities including inflatable climbing walls, assault courses, slides, ball pits and trampolines.

"The facility will offer birthday parties, children’s fitness classes including disability friendly sessions, family sessions and corporate hospitality."

The proposed use would be open seven days a week, compared with the three nights a week when it was a nightspot, and the company said "this would result in the site offering more in terms of economic benefits and job creation for the local economy".

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A business pack submitted with the application said there would be regular sessions aimed at pre-schoolers, adults-only, and disability-friendly sessions. These sessions are “designed primarily for those on the autistic spectrum, but open to all families who would benefit from a quieter, less stimulating session".

The pack also suggests that there would be features implemented that would be unique to Ipswich, continuing: “Despite a strong brand and clear identity, every Inflata Nation franchise will have its own unique inflatable feature to attract new interest in the brand.” 

The project is expected to bring 35 new part-time jobs to Cardinal Park.

The site has been a nightclub since 1999, when it was first Liquid and then Liquid & Envy. After a £650,000 refurbishment in 2015, the Unit 17 branding was adopted and a string of famous faces from soaps and reality TV have made appearances over the years.