Who is the new owner of Ipswich's Tolly Cobbold brewery on Cliff Quay?
PUBLISHED: 07:30 03 July 2019
A huge new question mark hangs over the future of one of the best-known buildings in Ipswich after it emerged that the former Tolly Cobbold brewery on Cliff Quay has been sold.
The building has not been used to produce beer since 2002 - and it was due to be redeveloped and converted into a business and educational centre as part of a major new project on the Cliff Quay site. The closure was seen as a great loss for the town as we reported at the time.
However despite planning permission for the work on the historic listed building being granted in 2016, nothing happened - and now its Bury St Edmunds-based owner Pigeon Developments has sold the site.
The identity of the new owner is not known. It was due to come up for auction at the end of May, but it was sold privately just days before it was due to go under the hammer.
Officials at Ipswich Council do not yet know who has bought it - and there has been no indication of what the new owner's plans might be for the building.
The brewery was completed in 1896 and it became one of the best-known buildings beside the river. It has been Grade II listed since 1989. In 2015 it was named one of the 10 most endangered buildings in England and Wales by the Victorian Society.
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The listing includes the fixtures and fittings inside the brewery as well as building itself.
The building was sold by London-based property auctioneers Acuitus. A spokesman for the company said the identity of the new owner was currently confidential - but would emerge when the sale was record with the Land Registry over the next few months.
Ipswich Council portfolio holder for planning Carole Jones said: "We do not know who has bought the brewery, but we would obviously be keen to speak to whoever that is as soon as possible because we would like to know what they plan to do with it."
Any restoration would be likely to be very expensive - building experts have estimated that it would cost more than half a million pounds just to put scaffolding around what is a very complex building.
Ipswich Vision Partnership chair Terry Hunt said: "The current state of the brewery is a real shame. The Cobbolds must be spinning in their graves! Let's hope the new owners come up with a fine restoration of this beautiful building.
"The Waterfront is bookended by Stoke Bridge, where plans are being drawn up for new buildings, and the Tolly Cobbold site. Let's hope this is soon restored as a fine addition to the town."