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Could a new public square be created at Portman Road car park?

PUBLISHED: 05:57 07 September 2020

The Portman Road car park that could become a new open space. Picture: PAUL GEATER

The Portman Road car park that could become a new open space. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Archant

The construction of a new multi-storey car park opposite Portman Road’s Cobbold stand is set to lead to a major change in the landscape of part of Ipswich town centre.

But what will happen to the existing surface car park – and could part of it become a new open space that would be a natural meeting place for fans before football matches?

The new car park will create a similar number of parking spaces to those currently available, but on a much smaller footprint.

A new hotel is due to be built on the site of the former Drum and Monkey pub, which is currently a separate temporary car park.

And within a few years the borough council hopes that a new office block will be built on the site of the old garages that are currently being demolished.

But there is nothing certain planned for the rest of the site, which was the town’s livestock market until the 1970s.

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Borough leader David Ellesmere said a new public square would be created near the new multi-storey car park. Ultimately the rest of the site could be used for business or possibly residential developments – but it could be many years before that vision is complete.

He said: “We don’t know how things are going to change over the next few years. There might be a faster recovery than we can see at the moment – but ultimately there will be a development opportunity there.”

MORE: David Ellesmere outlines car park plans

But in the meantime, could the area be cleared and used as a temporary open space until plans to redevelop the site come forward?

Portman Road has been turned into a cul de sac for use by pedestrians and cyclists – and is likely to remain like that for at least another year until the effects of the change have been analysed – but the idea of the stretch behind the football stand being closed to through motor traffic could be crucial to the future of the area.

Overall though, the long-term future of one of the largest sites in the centre of Ipswich looks like a blank canvas – and the borough might have to look at ways of ensuring it isn’t left as a wasteland in the medium term, possibly turfing much of it and turning it into an attractive open space until development plans do finally come to fruition.


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