Viva Las Ipswich

IPSWICH waterfront could soon be up there with Monte Carlo and Australia's Gold Coast, depending on the roll of a dice in Whitehall.A new multi-million pound development incorporating a casino complex, hotel, apartments, restaurants, bars and a cinema could be set to provide a massive boost to the regeneration of Ipswich's Waterfront.

IPSWICH waterfront could soon be up there with Monte Carlo and Australia's Gold Coast, depending on the roll of a dice in Whitehall.

A new multi-million pound development incorporating a casino complex, hotel, apartments, restaurants, bars and a cinema could be set to provide a massive boost to the regeneration of Ipswich's Waterfront.

It is the second proposed casino for the waterfront and one of several now vying to be the first in Suffolk.

However, all the casino projects are currently on hold until the law governing gambling is relaxed by the government.

A group of development and investment companies, led by London-based Stephen Kane and Company, are in discussions with Ipswich Borough Council over the plans for the project, which could see construction of a 120-bed three-star hotel, 230 apartments, 70,000 sqaure feet of retail space and a four-screen cinema on the site of the car park in Duke Street.

The companies say the talks are in their early stages and details of the 53,000 square metre "landmark" development - twice the size of the Redrow development next door - are subject to change but artists impressions have been completed and the project is expected to be put to planners at the pre-application stage in six weeks.

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Sale of the car park to new owners Landmark Projects and Developments is on track to be completed by October.

Stephen Kane and Company head of investment and development Jeremy Barnett spoke to the Evening Star while on holiday in the south of France and he said the development was "extremely exciting".

"This is an exciting opportunity but there is a long way to go," he said.

The project, which could also incorporate office space and on-site parking, would be the lastest in a string of multi-million-pound projects which have transformed the former dilapidated dockside to a thriving residential and leisure area.

Last week Ipswich Borough Council approved a 23-storey building for the old Cranfield Mill site in College Street, which is to provide flats, affordable housing and a dance studio.

The news of the plans for the car park follow yesterday's (Mon) announcement of a proposal for a £180m road improvement scheme around the Waterfront as well as an Ipswich East Bank link road.

The road improvements are among a raft of spending plans under consideration by Suffolk County Council.

Do you want to see casinos in Suffolk? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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