June 19 2013 Latest news:
By Paul Geater
Thursday, March 7, 2013
BOLD proposals to restore the former Tolly Cobbold brewery at the heart of a multi-million pound new Waterfront development have been given unanimous backing by the borough.
The Cobbold family began brewing at Cliff Quay in 1746 – taking advantage from the pure water from the “Holy Wells” that existed in the area.
The brewery was completely rebuilt between 1894-96, creating the landmark building that sits on Cliff Quay today.
In 1957 Cobbold’s merged with local rivals Tollemache to form Tolly Cobbold. Three years later Tollemache’s brewery in Upper Brook Street closed and its production moved to Cliff Quay.
In 1989 brewing ceased after new brewery owners Brent Walker switched production to the north east – but a management buy-out saved Cliff Quay and brewing resumed in 1991.
In 2002 the new Tolly Cobbold merged with Essex brewers Ridleys. Brewing ceased at Cliff Quay and the building has been empty since then – apart from the Brewery Tap pub which has gone from strength to strength.
There is now a micro-brewery attached to the Brewery Tap, but it does not use the historic brewery building.
And it has now emerged that the new development is the front-runner to become the new home for the county’s archives as part of a major new heritage centre.
The proposals – which would see a hotel, supermarket, and new homes also built on the site – were granted outline permission by the borough’s planning and development committee.
The plan to restore the former Cliff Quay Brewery were given full planning approval – and work on the rest of the site will not proceed until the restoration is complete.
Planning chief Steve Miller said this was to avoid a similar situation to that which arose at County Hall where the newer buildings were demolished and their sites redeveloped while the historic heart of the building was abandoned and is today in a very poor condition.
It has now emerged that the new centre could be the home for the county’s archives – The Star revealed last week that the county is planning to find new home for all its archives either in Ipswich or in Bury St Edmunds.
A link-up with UCS could bring the archives to the Waterfront at the centre of a new heritage centre telling the story of the town from its Anglo-Saxon roots.
Clive Thompson from developers Pigeon said there had already been preliminary talks with officials from the county council.
He said: “Nothing is confirmed, but we would have the room for the archives and it would fit in well with everything else we are doing here.”
A final decision on what should happen to the county’s archives is expected to be made towards the end of the year – although the county cabinet member with responsibility for heritage Guy McGregor has made it clear that he thinks the archives should have a home in the county town.
With the outline permission being granted, the developers can now negotiate firm deals with operators for the supermarket – which will be a similar size to the new Waitrose on Futura Park – and the hotel.
Mr Thompson added: “There is still quite a way to go, but this decision today is absolutely crucial. We will be able to negotiate firm deals on this now.”
He is not able to say which supermarket will be coming to the site – although it is known that ASDA is keen to open a new store on the eastern side of Ipswich.
The developers of the site are not able to give a timescale for work to start – but have emphasised that work to restore the former brewery can only get under way once the tenants for the large elements have been signed up.
David Henry from Savills, which is working with Pigeon on the development, said: “At the moment the building is on life support – but restoring it is absolutely crucial to the whole development.
“You don’t want a supermarket and hotel overlooking a derelict old building like that. It is in everyone’s interest to get it restored as soon as possible.”