Coastal fund boost for ‘state of the art’ new Suffolk records office and heritage centre

An artist's impression of The Hold Picture; SCC

An artist's impression of The Hold Picture; SCC - Credit: SCC

A six-figure sum has been awarded to “bring to life” plans for a new Suffolk records office and heritage centre.

The Hold, which will be built in the University of Suffolk campus, has been given a £414,763 grant through the Coastal Communities Fund to deliver a “comprehensive, year round heritage activity and events programme to develop new audiences to visit Ipswich Waterfront”.

It comes after plans for the new £20m records office and heritage centre were formally approved by Suffolk County Council earlier this year. The new centre, which is expected to open by the end of 2019, will host most of Suffolk’s unique archive collections, as well as modern public facilities and teaching spaces. It is expected to attract 19,500 visitors per year, seeking to research local history, find out about their families or take part in events and activities.

While council chiefs have praised the scheme as a “state of the art” attraction, its design and impact on other collections has prompted some criticism.

Ipswich Society chairman John Norman, described the proposed building as a “mundane series of boxes”.

The Coastal Communities Fund was launched in 2012 and has awarded grants to 295 projects across the UK totalling over £173 million, which is said to have created more than 7,000 jobs.

Coastal Communities Minister, Jake Berry MP, said: “It’s really exciting to see money from the Coastal Communities Fund help kick start these shovel ready projects, which have the potential to unlock the barriers to development and growth in our coastal communities.

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“Investment in our seaside areas, through projects such as these, will provide nothing short of a New Deal for the Great British coast, creating thousands of jobs, training places and opportunities along the shore.”

Applications submitted for Round 5 of the Coast Communities Fund are currently being assessed. The successful main round bids of the remaining £34 million are expected to be announced by early 2019.