Historic Waterfront building set to be restored by Ipswich council

4 College Street

The merchant's house 4 College Street is to be restored - Credit: Charlotte Bond

One of the most historic houses in Ipswich is set to get a new lease of life when it is restored by the borough council later this year.

Number Four, College Street, is a merchant's house dating from the 16th century. But it has been empty for decades and has been on lists of heritage buildings in danger for many years.

It was bought by the borough in 2016 as part of the land deal at the entrance to the Waterfront - and next week's meeting of the council's executive is set to approve the appointment of a specialist contractor to restore it to its former glory.

Planning permission and special consent for the Grade Two listed building were obtained for these works. After agreeing on the contractor, the works are expected to start next month..

The timber-framed and plastered house with a cross-wing at the west end was damaged by fire in 1992 and has been vacant since 1981. It was originally a merchant’s house.

Inside 4 College Street

The inside of 4 College Street, which Ipswich Borough Council is planning to refurbish. - Credit: IBC/Nicholas Jacob Architects

Borough leader David Ellesmere said: “Ipswich council is committed to maintaining our great range of historic buildings in the town and we are also ensuring these are in use. In addition, we are investing wisely in property to generate a return for the council.

“I’m pleased that we are set to achieve all three of these aims with our awarding of a contract to refurbish and restore 4 College Street, a Grade II listed, 16th Century timber-framed building at the Waterfront.

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"These works are expected to be completed by January 2022. This will enable us to take this historic cottage off Ipswich’s ‘Buildings at Risk’ Register.

"We will then seek a suitable tenant for the building.”

The site is largely surrounded by a wall that is in poor condition and is due to be demolished later this year. Once the work is all complete it should improve the entrance to the waterfront from Stoke Bridge.

Eventually the whole area is due to be redeveloped - partly with funding from the Town Deal announced by the government at the end of last year.