Red light area to be home to police

IPSWICH'S red light district is become home to the police, it can be revealed today.The town's main police station is set to move into the Ipswich Buses depot at the junction of Constantine Road and Sir Alf Ramsey Way in 2009.


IPSWICH'S red light district is become home to the boys in blue, it can be revealed today.

The town's main police station is set to move into the Ipswich Buses depot at the junction of Constantine Road and Sir Alf Ramsey Way in 2009.

After months of deadlock, Ipswich Buses is today again looking forward to moving to a new depot off Hadleigh Road.

The bus company is expected to move in 2007, giving builders and other technicians about 18 months to convert their existing Victorian depot into a new police station for the town.

The move is likely to be welcomed by a vast majority of the residents in Alderman Road, who have campaigned for years to get rid of prostitutes who use the area.

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Now the police have been given the green light to move to the red light area, having the town's main police station on their beat is likely to prove a big deterrent to working girls.

The police have to leave their current station at the end of 2008 because it is part of the Civic Centre site which is set to be redeveloped for retail and housing with a large Waitrose store at its heart.

The Star understands that the Home Office has given the police the go-ahead to stay in their present station until the end of 2008 which will be two-and-a half years after the borough council has quit Civic Centre.

The police will also have a central Ipswich presence based in Ipswich council's new customer service centre on the ground floor of the Town Hall.

But the new site should be very convenient for much of the police work. It has good access to the road network and is very close to Portman Road for policing football matches.

It is also near the entertainment centre of the town at Cardinal Park.

Alderman Road resident Pat Burrows said residents had been aware that the police were planning to move to the Ipswich Village area – but did not know the exact location.

Mrs Burrows said: "I don't really know what impact a police station here will have on the area – I suppose we shall have to see if and when it opens up.

"The residents here don't really know what is happening in Ipswich Village, no one talks to us – we just hear about things at the same time as everyone else.

"There are problems with prostitutes in the area but it's too early to say if a new police station will make any difference."

Ipswich Buses should have moved out of Constantine Road last year, but the intervention of Network Rail prevented work starting on the new depot.

The buses new home is to be on the site of the former Harris bacon factory between the rail lines from Ipswich to Norwich and Felixstowe.

The Hadleigh Road site will also be home to the household waste site, which will move from Portman Walk, and the neighbouring concrete plant.

The Portman Walk site will also be redeveloped for homes and more offices.

It is impossible to reach the Hadleigh Road site without going over one of two rail bridges – and infrastructure company Network Rail which is responsible for the bridges insisted their sides would have to be strengthened in the wake of the Selby disaster.

Now, after lengthy negotiations, details of the work to be done have been agreed.

And that should mean that work on the new depot should be able to start before the end of the year.

The current depot is not owned by Ipswich Buses – its ownership was taken over by the company's owner, Ipswich Council, when the borough plugged a hole in its pension fund four years ago.

And it is the council which will own the Hadleigh Road depot – the bus

company will be its tenant.

Ipswich Buses managing director Malcolm Robson was pleased that things were starting to move again.

He said: "It's taken a long time for the council and Network Rail to come to an agreement on this, but now things seem to have been sorted out.

"We should be able to get started on building the new depot before the end of this year and be looking to move before too long."

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