Red Rose Chain and Felixstowe Seafront Gardens among nominees in RICS 2016 Awards for East of England

Darsham House.

Darsham House.

Building projects hailed for their innovative designs and community value have been shortlisted in the region’s annual property awards.

The RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) 2016 Awards for the East of England, known as the region’s property Oscars, features eight categories and 27 nominees, including 13 from Suffolk and north-east Essex.

In contrast, there are only three from Norfolk and two from Hertfordshire.

Felixstowe Seafront Gardens, a pivotal £4.8 million project in the restoration of the town’s seafront which opened last summer, has been nominated for three categories.

Seven of the iconic gardens around the Spa Pavilion can now be enjoyed by the public.

TJ Haworth-Culf, cabinet member with responsibility for customers, communities and leisure at Suffolk Coastal, said: “Since the Gardens re-opened in the summer, we have had a great response from local people and tourists visiting the area. We have invested in making the Gardens accessible and inviting to everyone, as an all year round attraction at the heart of Felixstowe’s iconic seafront area.

“The Gardens will really develop and bloom in coming years. However, we are already seeing more people using them and the addition of lighting in the Gardens has meant visitors are able to enjoy the gardens on winter evenings.”

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Meanwhile, The Avenue Theatre, the new home of Ipswich theatre company Red Rose Chain, has been nominated for two awards.

The £1m theatre stands within the grounds of the company’s headquarters Gippeswyk Hall, a Grade II listing building, and opened in June last year.

Joanna Carrick, artistic director at the Red Rose Chain, said: “We are delighted with The Avenue Theatre; it’s beautiful and complements Gippeswyk Hall perfectly, but above all it works for people, for our audiences and participants.

“We have had over 10,000 visitors in our first year and they love it.”

Nicholas Jacob Architects, involved in the four-year building project at The Avenue Theatre, also oversaw the conservation and repair project at Grade II listed Darsham House, one of Suffolk’s finest country houses which has also been nominated for two awards.

Shaun Soanes, associate at Nicholas Jacob Architects, said: “This recognition is really good news and testament to the work which was carried out.

“It has been taken from a very poor state of repair and is now a very god example of what a Georgian house should look like.”

The 2016 RICS Awards for the East of England takes place at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds on May 11. Tickets can be booked online at

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