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Waterfront gets treble boost

PUBLISHED: 23:08 10 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:11 03 March 2010

IPSWICH'S Waterfront area has received a treble boost.

The good news comes with another major planning application arriving at Civic Centre.

If all the proposed building goes ahead, this would see all the redundant land between Stoke Bridge and the Old Custom House developed.

IPSWICH'S Waterfront area has received a treble boost.

The good news comes with another major planning application arriving at Civic Centre.

If all the proposed building goes ahead, this would see all the redundant land between Stoke Bridge and the Old Custom House developed.

And it would create scores of new homes, restaurants, and offices in the area.

But now officials at the council are anxious to ensure all applications in the area are co-ordinated to avoid piecemeal development.

The latest application to be received is a new proposal for a 10-storey block of flats, shops, offices and restaurants on the site of the burnt-out St Peter's warehouse beside Bridge Street.

This replaces an earlier application for a 14-storey block which was considered too big for the site.

It comes after the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) unveiled its long-awaited plans for the former Cranfield's flour mill and Status Properties applied for permission to build a block of flats and offices on the site of the former Burton's factory.

However the rush of planning applications has prompted the borough to try to co-ordinate development there with other agencies.

"It is encouraging to get these applications, but we do need to get a degree of co-ordination in the area," said Ipswich council head of development control Mike Smith.

One of the key elements to be considered is access to the new developments.

At the launch of the Cranfield's development, architect John Lyall said it was important to make it easier for pedestrians to walk from the town centre to the Waterfront.

Heavy traffic along Star Lane, College Street, and Key Street effectively means the Waterfront is cut off from the town centre by a dual carriageway.

That's a formidable barrier for pedestrians – even with a few zebra and pelican crossings thrown in.

Mr Smith said the council still had the long-term aim of closing College Street and Key Street to most traffic and turning Star Lane into a two-way street.

But that could only happen after a new bridge was build across the Orwell – over the lock gates and New Cut at the end of the "island site."

That in itself is a highly controversial proposal – any new road would have to pass over land owned by port owners ABP which is opposed to such a crossing.

The port says it would be impractical because of the time the road bridge would have to be closed to traffic to allow vessels to enter or leave the Wet Dock.

Mr Smith said there was still a lot to be discussed before a river crossing could be built – but thought ABP could change its mind if it was the way of unlocking the potential of the island site.

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