Spiral car park sell-off shock
ONE of the most popular car parks in Ipswich town centre is likely to be sold off to the private sector, The Evening Star can reveal today.The spiral car park underneath the New Wolsey Theatre is set to be included in the sale of the former Civic Centre site for redevelopment.
ONE of the most popular car parks in Ipswich town centre is likely to be sold off to the private sector, The Evening Star can reveal today.
The spiral car park underneath the New Wolsey Theatre is set to be included in the sale of the former Civic Centre site for redevelopment.
And that is likely to see the cost of parking there increase steeply.
The deal will also include the Wolsey surface car park, which will be closed once redevelopment of the site gets underway.
When the Civic Centre site was first offered for sale at the end of last year following the council's move to its new headquarters at Grafton House in Russell Road, the spiral car park was specifically excluded.
Eight bids were received and were considered by the borough's agents - Savills. As a result of these bids a shortlist of three was drawn up.
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One of these bids included taking over the spiral car park - and Savills told the council that by including it they would get a better deal and would not have to pay for the maintenance of the car park in the future.
Next Tuesday's meeting of the borough's executive committee is being asked to recommend that the spiral underground car park is included in the deal, and that the three highest bidders are invited to tender for the site.
The ownership of the entire Civic Centre and car park site would be transferred from the council by the end of the year.
The move would almost certainly see car park charges increase - the report into the sale says: “At the present time, car parking charges in both the Wolsey Pay and Display and Spiral Car Parks are set by the Council; when the ownership of the Car Parks pass to a new owner, car parking charges are likely to be set at a market level by the developer.”
Transport portfolio holder Paul West said the council could offer no long term guarantees about the car park's future if it was sold.
“If we do go down that route we would lose control of the car park - both in regard to its future and in respect of what it can charge.
“At the moment there is an imbalance with regard to parking in the town, much of it is in the north and west of Ipswich, and that is something we have to address.
“We have had a survey of the park and while there are no immediate problems, in the medium to long-term it is expensive to maintain.”
The council would try to ensure that the park stayed open during the evenings to provide parking for visitors to the New Wolsey Theatre, because the surface car parks would be closed once redevelopment work on the site begins.