Former Ipswich pub set for bulldozers if council buys derelict eyesore
PUBLISHED: 05:30 31 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:07 01 August 2019
A derelict eyesore at the junction of Bramford Road and Norwich Road is likely to be demolished.
Ipswich council is seeking a compulsory purchase order for the former Rose and Crown pub at its executive meeting next week, although councillors fear that could be a long process if its owners decide to challenge the decision.
Ward councillor Colin Kreidewolf said the saga of the building had been a long headache for the council ever since it had to step in during November 2017, when rebuilding work to turn it into a Kurdish community centre was found to be unsafe.
The work had to be halted. Bramford Road was closed for two months and much of the building was demolished by specialists employed by the borough.
Mr Kreidewolf said: "This has been a very difficult issue. We have been talking to the owners about doing something with that site, but really we are no further forward than we were then."
He did not think there was much future for the building on the site: "If we do buy the site, it will almost certainly have to come down and then we can look at what to do with the land.
"Housing looks like the obvious thing to happen there - but the access is a bit difficult and we will have to look at that."
A key consideration is that the Eastravel next to the former pub is connected to the building with a room over the arch on a "flying freehold". The council was talking to the owners of that building and hoped to reach a satisfactory solution that would make their building safe.
Mr Kreidewolf did not know how long the CPO process might take. "That depends on the current owners," he said. "If they can work with the valuation we're getting - and there are still costs we have to recover from the action we had to take - then things could happen quite quickly.
"If they try to get more for the building and the site - and they have spent quite a large amount on this - then that could take quite a long time to resolve."
Mike Tunstill, director of Eastravel, was delighted to hear that the council was trying to buy the former pub. "Quite frankly it's been very difficult," he said. "We have been talking to the person who said he was the owner of the building but then he had to talk to a committee and nothing has happened there.
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"If the council owns it, it should be much easier to get a decision on its future so we are very pleased to hear this news."
The Rose and Crown timeline:
17th Century: First record of a pub at the junction of Bramford Road and Norwich Road.
Early 20th Century: Rose and Crown pub built on the site. Over the years it developed a reputation as a home of folk music.
2011: Last orders called at the Rose and Crown. It was bought by a group seeking to open a Kurdish Community Centre.
2013: Planning permission granted for the pub to become a community centre.
2015: Members of the community started using the old pub.
Early 2017: Work to convert the building into a functioning community centre started.
November 2017: Concern about the way the work was being carried out prompted an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive who said it was in imminent danger of collapse. Work stopped immediately and Bramford Road closed to traffic.
January 2018: Bramford Road reopened after Ipswich Council demolished most of the building and made what was left safe. Negotiations continued with its owners.
August 2019: Ipswich Council set to start Compulsory Purchase proceedings.