Work on Ipswich square could start soon after legal hurdle overcome

This area in front of the New Wolsey should be transformed into a new Theatre Square.

This area in front of the New Wolsey should be transformed into a new Theatre Square. - Credit: Archant

Proposals to transform the area in front of the New Wolsey Theatre into a new public square could start to take shape soon after final legal agreements were signed by the borough council.

Theatre Square artists impression

Theatre Square artists impression

Work to create the Theatre Square was held up because of negotiations over a deal by developers Charterhouse Investments LLP to carry out certain works as part of the development.

But they were finally ironed out this week and borough council solicitors signed the final documents granting planning permission – conditional planning permission was granted last summer.

That means work to create the Theatre Square could start very soon – although the developers do have two years to complete the development under the terms of the planning application.

Phil Waind from architects WGPA is co-ordinating the work with AREA Landscape Architects which is based at Pin Mill just outside Ipswich.

Mr Waind said the council’s move was “Great News” and allowed his company to go ahead with detailed planning and procurement to allow work to get under way.

The new square will create a new outdoor performance area in front of the theatre and there will be a new restaurant built facing on to the square beside Civic Drive.

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And the new Theatre Square could just be the start of a wider redevelopment of the Westgate area – including the sites of the former Civic Centre and police station – over the next decade.

Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere said of Theatre Square: “It is a very good scheme and it shows that Ipswich is a place where people want to invest and do business – it will really improve the setting of the New Wolsey and I’m looking forward to seeing work get under way.”

The new square will help to further improve the look of that part of the town which has already been tidied up with the opening of new surface car parks on the site of the Civic Centre and police station.

They were both granted temporary planning permission for a period of five years before they opened last year – eventually they are expected to be redeveloped as part of a wider scheme for what has been described as the Westgate Quarter of the town centre. But that could still be several years away.

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