Westgate work set to start

PROPOSALS for a major £50million revamp of Ipswich's former Civic Centre were set to be given the thumbs up by town chiefs today.Developers Turnstone hope to build a new shopping centre featuring 15,000 sq m of retail space as well as a detached café/restaurant above the Spiral car park, a new three storey building fronting Westgate Street and 11 new homes.

PROPOSALS for a major £50million revamp of Ipswich's former Civic Centre were set to be given the thumbs up by town chiefs today.

Developers Turnstone hope to build a new shopping centre featuring 15,000 sq m of retail space as well as a detached café/restaurant above the Spiral car park, a new three storey building fronting Westgate Street and 11 new homes.

The project will be based around a large supermarket, with retail giants Waitrose and Marks and Spencer rumoured to be interested.

The development has been earmarked for approval subject to a number of conditions although the final decision rests with the council's planning committee.

A report on the application said the proposal is welcomed as a “benefit to the town”.

“It is important to support investment in the town centre in order to promote regeneration and vitality and viability of Ipswich as a shopping destination,” the report states.

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“Issues regarding the impact on the surrounding highways can be addressed through mitigating measures and promotion of alternative means of transport other than the private car.

“The development includes an independent restaurant unit which will improve the viability of the area in the evening as well as during the daytime.”

Having officially opened in the early 1970's, the Civic Centre site has been vacant since September 2006 when the borough council moved into their new offices on Russell Road.

The site was bought by Turnstone in August 2007 for around £8.15million.