Work to update spiral car park at the Theatre Square development starts in May

The New Wolsey Theatre and the spiral car park.

The New Wolsey Theatre and the spiral car park. - Credit: Su Anderson

Work to refurbish Ipswich’s spiral underground car park is due to start next month after the opening of the new surface car park on the site of the former Civic Centre building.

And the owners of the park are hopeful that the work can be completed with no need for it to be completely closed.

Architect Phil Waind, who is supervising the “Theatre Square” project on behalf of owner Charterhouse LLP, said the company had experts who had refurbished other car parks – and was hoping the work in could be done in phases, closing off one section of the park at a time.

But they would have to see whether that would be possible after moving into the site.

The full planning permission for the Theatre Square project was granted by Ipswich council earlier this month, and Mr Waind said this meant work would have to get on with the project soon.

It will probably take about a year to complete once designs have been confirmed and contractors appointed for the work.

There has already been a great deal of interest from potential operators for the new restaurant. The planning application requires all the work to be completed within a year of it starting.

Meanwhile work is expected to start soon on turning the former police station site in Elm Street into a temporary car park.

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Members of Ipswich council’s planning and development committee are due to discuss the proposed park at next week’s meeting.

Planning officers are recommending approval for the application – but for a limited time of only two years. Originally the borough had sought permission to operate the car park for five years.

However council leader David Ellesmere said it would still be a quality car park.

He said: “This will be properly surfaced with CCTV coverage and proper spaces laid out for vehicles, it will not be a ‘bomb site’ park and it will be necessary for when the Crown Car Park is rebuilt next year.

“At the end of the two year period we hope there may be a comprehensive redevelopment proposal for the area – we are already talking to Charterhouse about that.”