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The Hold in Ipswich on course for summer finish but public have to wait

PUBLISHED: 05:30 24 April 2020

The Hold is very near completeion  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The Hold is very near completeion Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Work to finish Suffolk’s new records and heritage centre near Ipswich Waterfront should resume on Monday after new procedures to comply with social distancing rules were agreed with contractors RG Carter.

“The Hold” building had been due to be finished and handed over to Suffolk County Council at the beginning May, allowing Suffolk’s collection of historic records to be moved in and for final fitting out of public areas to be completed.

However the start of the lockdown meant all work had to stop while the contractors and council discussed how it could be made safe for the last work to be completed.

After new rules were introduced this week, both Carters and the council are sure that it is safe for construction to continue with workers observing rules of social distancing. The work is likely to take longer than originally planned – but they are hoping it should be ready during the summer.

Work started on the building in 2018 and it was topped out at a special ceremony last summer.

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Meanwhile plans for a big public opening of The Hold have had to be delayed although once it is handed over to the council, officials hope that work can start moving material into the new building.

They are confident that this work would be able to be completed while complying with social distancing rules – which should mean The Hold could be used for teaching as part of the University of Suffolk from the start of the new academic year.

However with bans on groups of people meeting likely to remain in place for the rest of the year, the timing of a formal public opening for the centre is still a long way off.

Suffolk’s cabinet member for Ipswich Paul West said: “Work on The Hold building is not yet finished and had been paused to ensure proper planning in line with government guidance. However, it is now due to resume next week under strict distancing guidelines.

“The hope is that the building will be handed over to Suffolk County Council in the summer, but this is clearly subject to change in these unprecedented times.

“We are doing all we can to safely progress this ambitious project to deliver a flagship heritage facility for Suffolk, providing new ways of engaging people with our archives.”

The £20m project is a collaboration between the county and university with a substantial grant from the Lottery Heritage Fund.


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