The Ipswich ‘eyesores’ desperately in need of love and attention

Former County Hall, Ipswich remains empty and is a target for vandals

Former County Hall, Ipswich remains empty and is a target for vandals

There is no greater supporter of our town centre and the proposals to regenerate the Cornhill than the Ipswich Star.

This car wash has sprung up on the St Margarets site

This car wash has sprung up on the St Margarets site

The multi-million pound investment in the traditional heart of Ipswich, along with major rebuilding work in Queen Street and Princes Street will help to maintain the push to improve the town centre.

However there are still eyesores near the heart of Ipswich which desperately need some love and attention if they are to be seen as beacons of progress rather than blots on the landscape.

And we want you to identify those buildings you feel that need attention – and for a start we have images of some of those in need of improvement here. Some are large, obvious, blots on the landscape – like the former St Helen Court building of County Hall which is still waiting for new owner to take it on.

Others may be smaller and require less work, like the former Police Station site in Elm Street which is currently surrounded by an ugly fence but could soon become a new surface car park while its long term future is discussed in the years ahead.

The former Woolworths building is an eyesore

The former Woolworths building is an eyesore

Some of these buildings have proposals in place to restore and reuse them – St Michael’s Church in Upper Orwell Street is due to become a community centre – but these plans can take many years and a great deal of effort to raise enough funds to carry out the necessary work.

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St Helen Court, as it is strictly known, to the east of the town centre has been unoccupied since Suffolk County Council moved to Endeavour House in 2003.

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Most of County Hall, including the historic Grade II listed St Helen Court, was sold to a development company – which has built new homes on the site after knocking down a collection of 1950s buildings.

However St Helen Court, which includes the former council chamber and courtroom, has not been found a new use.

Because the 19th-century building is listed, any new owner would be restricted in what it could do with it.

The courtroom is famous as being where Wallis Simpson obtained her divorce before marrying the Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII, following the abdication crisis.

In 2012 urban photographers were able to get inside the building and revealed shocking pictures of the state of the former administrative hub of the county.

Since then there has been a plan to turn the former council chamber into a new Register Office for Ipswich and planning permission was obtained from the borough council.

However there has been little progress on this scheme over the last eight months. The building’s security was improved in 2013, and there have been fewer problems with trespassers – but the fabric of the building still appears to need urgent attention.