Green light for The Botanist to move into Ipswich landmark

The Old Post Office on Ipswich Cornhill

The Botanist will move into the Old Post Office building - Credit: Katy Sandalls

Final fit-out work for restaurant chain The Botanist to occupy an historic Ipswich landmark can begin after planning permission was unanimously secured.

Plans for the Grade II Listed former Post Office on the Cornhill, owned by Ipswich Borough Council, was approved at the authority's planning committee meeting on Wednesday morning, which will enable internal alternations and finishes for the restaurant chain to move in.

Those works include a new internal staircase, bar, external lighting and CCTV cameras, and repairs to damaged ceilings and basement windows.

Planning committee member Colin Kreidewolf said: "It's great to see the continuing renovation of the Post Office that will bring it back into use, which is great news for Ipswich and help enliven the town square.

"The renovations already been done have been done sympathetically and the changes in this are sympathetic to the age of the building, so I fully support this building."

Councillor John Cook said it was "an appropriate use for an extremely important building in the town," with portfolio holder for planning Carole Jones adding that the lights outside will "really add to how it looks, how the town centre looks and how the Cornhill looks".

The building was constructed in 1881, and vacated by Lloyds TSB bank and The Wharf in 2016.

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A change of use planning application to allow for a restaurant use was approved last year, and since then external roof repair works and a clean of the building have been completed in a £1million project.

The Botanist confirmed in the spring that it had signed a deal with the council to occupy the historic space, and has already been recruiting staff.

The firm, which often makes use of prominent historic buildings in town centres, hopes to be in and serving customers before Christmas.

Last month, Natasha Waterfield, chief operating officer for New World Trading Company which owns the brand, said: “Bringing our unique concepts to new cities and towns is one of the most exciting parts of my role. The Cornhill is such a stunning location, and I can’t wait to open the doors.”