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Ipswich prepares for £7m transformation of Princes Street corridor

PUBLISHED: 15:29 13 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:54 13 March 2019

Garages in Princes Street which are set to be demolished as part of the redevelopment of the area. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Garages in Princes Street which are set to be demolished as part of the redevelopment of the area. Picture: PAUL GEATER

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The Princes Street business corridor in Ipswich could be transformed over the next three years if proposals by the borough are backed by its executive next week.

The area of Princes Street where a new multi-storey car park is set to be built. Picture: PAUL GEATERThe area of Princes Street where a new multi-storey car park is set to be built. Picture: PAUL GEATER

It wants to borrow £7million to build a new 700-space multi-storey car park, demolish the garages that currently operate on part of the site, and build a new hotel and restaurant on the site of the former Drum and Monkey pub.

Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere said the borough was in talks with a hotel operator interested in moving to the Drum and Monkey site. It would include a restaurant and reception on the ground floor – and the development could also include some office space.

He could not say who the operator was, but the borough would build it and then rent space to the hotel and any other businesses that moved into the development.

And he said hopes of building a new office block – which already has planning permission – on the garage site would be boosted if there wasn’t already an occupier there.

The site of the former Drum and Monkey pub could be turned into a hotel. Picture: PAUL GEATERThe site of the former Drum and Monkey pub could be turned into a hotel. Picture: PAUL GEATER

He said: “We had a prospective occupier interested in that site – but they were put off by the time it would take to get vacant possession and demolishing the existing building before work could start on the new offices.”

If the buildings were demolished the site could be used as a temporary car park until a deal to build the offices was completed.

Mr Ellesmere said: “There would be a need for some more temporary car parking while work is going on building the new multi-storey behind Axa because that part of the existing car park would obviously be closed.”

The new car park would have about the same number of spaces as on the current parking area. In the longer term the borough wants to develop this area for leisure, new homes and possibly more businesses.

It also wants to build another multi-storey car park at West End Road – but would not start work on this until the Princes Street car park is completed.

The council would finance the Princes Street projects with a £7m loan that would be available because that area is an Enterprise Zone. The loan would cost £400,000 a year to service that would be paid by rents and car parking charges – and would complete a key corridor from the railway station into the town centre.

Timeline for development of new Princes Street corridor

Ipswich Council hopes to see the redevelopment of Princes Street well under way within the next few years.

March 2019: Start planning and appointing architects for the new car parks.

June 2019: Make planning applications for car parks. Agree lease for the hotel at the Drum and Monkey.

August 2019: Obtain planning permission

September 2019: Appoint contractors for Princes Street car park and new hotel building.

Late 2019: Take vacant possession of garages. Demolish buildings.

January/March 2020: Open temporary car park on garage site.

April 2020: Start work on car park and hotel sites.

November 2021: Open new hotel and Princes Street multi-storey car park.

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