Work to begin on new court

WORK on the new Ipswich Crown Court building could get underway as early as next month, the Evening Star can reveal today.The new court is to part of the Ipswich Village development, built opposite the Princes Street fire station between Russell Road and West End Road.

WORK on the new Ipswich Crown Court building could get underway as early as next month, the Evening Star can reveal today.

The new court is to part of the Ipswich Village development, built opposite the Princes Street fire station between Russell Road and West End Road.

The Lord Chancellor's Department would not confirm when work will start on the building, but the Star understands that all the legal agreements have been signed and contractors are expected to move on to the site very soon – possibly as early as November 4.

The new court building is due to be completed and opened by the summer of 2004, and should see an increase in high-profile court cases handled in the town.

Already Judge John Devaux, Ipswich's resident judge, has been cleared to hear the most serious cases, including murder.

When the new courthouse is completed, it is likely that more serious Suffolk cases will be heard in the county.

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The existing crown court building, in Civic Drive, is expected to become an extension to the town's magistrates' court in 2004.

This will improve security, especially for prisoners in custody, because the building is linked directly to the town's police station.

The construction of the new crown court building will give a big boost to the Ipswich Village project which is suffering from the uncertainty surrounding its largest project – the construction of a new headquarters for TXU.

Work building that will continue – but it is uncertain whether electricity staff will ever occupy it.

"We have reached the stage now where the building is a major asset for the company – and it will be much more of an asset as a completed building than a half-built shell.

"Therefore work will continue, although who occupies it in the end might not be so certain," said a TXU spokesman.

The building itself is estimated to be costing £23 million and the company is investing a total of £35 million in the Ipswich Village area – including a new multi-storey car park which is also taking shape – that will also be available for football fans on match days at Portman Road.

And an application for a new block of flats and offices on the opposite side of Russell Road has been submitted to Ipswich Council planners by developers North West Estates and landowner the Mars Pension Fund.

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