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Ipswich: Time has come to rid Waterfront of crumbling eyesore and Portman Road could hold the secret

14:40 11 March 2013

The Waterfront - The Star is calling on the council to take action over the Stoke Bridge entrance

The Waterfront - The Star is calling on the council to take action over the Stoke Bridge entrance

TODAY The Star calls on the borough to take action to sort out the most pressing problem facing the Waterfront.

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Politicians divided over the problem

BOROUGH council leader David Ellesmere said he would love to see the authority seek a compulsory purchase order for the sites – but claimed it would prove too expensive.

“I don’t think it would be possible as things stand at the moment,” he said.

“It’s the kind of thing that could have been contemplated a few years ago when EEDA (the former East of England Development Agency) had money to spend on regenerating areas such as when it helped get The Mill developed.

“But there is not the money available now. We could only consider that kind of action if we had a developer on board to take on a major project there.

“And you are not going to get that to happen in the present economic climate.”

He said that if the borough did buy the properties, it would probably cost more than a million pounds to demolish the buildings and clear the site.

But Mr Ellesmere’s claims that the borough was unable to consider purchasing the sites did not impress the town’s Tory MP Ben Gummer.

He said: “I fear this is the borough yet again trying to duck out of an important decision for the town. It could use its capital to take this on and make a real difference.”

He said the borough already owned large pieces of land in the town and it could easily sell some of these assets to take on the waterfront entrance, which would be a boost to the whole area.

Mr Gummer added: “I don’t want to tell the council what they should or should not sell, but we know the football club is keen to buy the freehold of Portman Road.”

He said the council needed to consider using its assets to boost the town as a whole: “Labour councils elsewhere in the country have done that very effectively.

“By buying and selling land, Labour-run Manchester City Council has helped regenerate that city dramatically over the last few years,” he said.

The area between Stoke Bridge and The Mill is occupied by a number of different buildings.

St Peter’s Warehouse was a Victorian listed building that had been derelict for years until it was seriously damaged in a devastating fire in 2000.

What remained of the building was demolished in 2009 and the site converted into a temporary surface car park.

Pauls specialist malt silo was in use until the 1990s – but has been out of use since then.

Burton’s building was used in the manufacture of confectionary supplies until the company closed and moved out of town in the 1980s.

The other Burton’s building was successfully converted into the Cardinal Lofts scheme by developers Braceforce about 10 years ago.

Sort out the mess that blights the most important entrance to the town’s jewel – and use compulsory purchase orders to buy the redundant land between Stoke Bridge and the stalled Mill development.

For too long this entrance to the town’s most important feature has been ignored by officials and developers – who are apparently put off by the jigsaw of owners who each have an interest in a comparatively small area of land.

The area includes the long-derelict Pauls malting silo, part of the former Burton’s building, and the wall that surrounds the former St Peter’s Warehouse that was destroyed by fire more than a decade ago and finally demolished in 2009 to become a “temporary” car park.

There are five separate patches of land – with three owners identified by the borough.

The site of the former St Peter’s Warehouse is owned by Anthony Beeson who lives near Needham Market.

The former Pauls malting silo – and a small part of the former Burton’s building is owned by Sassan Holdings with a mortgage held by the Investec Bank.

The rest of the Burton’s building is split into two separate units, the registered owner of both is Hampden Homes – both are mortgaged to an Irish bank whose assets are now held by the National Asset Management Authority (NAMA).

That is the body that now has control of The Mill and Regatta Quay.

The ownership of St Peter’s Wharf – next to the river and the Wet Dock itself – is unclear and the borough is unable to establish who is responsible for it.

The land is dominated by derelict buildings which are a blight on the entrance to the Waterfront – and are potentially dangerous.

Just last month The Star revealed that the former Burton’s building was being used as a drugs den – and it is thought that vagrants or drug users could have started the fire that destroyed St Peter’s Warehouse in 2000.

Should the borough seek compulsory purchase powers? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk

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9 comments

  • Doesnt make sense to sell portman road as it is a regular income for the council why waste tax payer money on the waterfront which doesnt appear to create much revenue and as far has been a flop. Why not stipulate to tesco that they can have the old b n q site if they put some investment there seeing as it will also contribute to killing the town CENTRE

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    Buxton

    Monday, March 11, 2013

  • Sorry, No way Portman road should be sold to fix the councils mess up on the waterfront! Use there bonuses the fix it and spend the money on the town center rather than on the failing waterfront!

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    IpswichTownFC4Ever

    Monday, March 11, 2013

  • BURTONS WAS A GREAT PLACE TO WORK 1956 57 ALL THE LOVELY GIRLS.[FOND MEMORYS GIRLS.

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    TERENCE MANNING

    Wednesday, March 13, 2013

  • Why sell an asset off for a waterfront that actually offers very little. A steady income from itfc must be kept . Ask the tax payer what they want. The only people iv heard who are pro waterfront are politicians not the general public # wasteofmoney

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    Buxton

    Monday, March 11, 2013

  • http:www.telegraph.co.uknewsuknews9921344Councillors-for-hire-who-give-firms-planning-advice.html Hope our councillors are working for us. I have no reason to suppose otherwise.

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    Mrs Evans

    Monday, March 11, 2013

  • Bonuses? CEOs of multi nationals might get them but local government? You're having a laugh. As for selling Portman Road - why not? and why stop there - sell Ipswich Buses as well. Quit thinking that you are an old style corporation and waken up to smell the coffee Ipswich Borough!! There again, why should the Borough pay for the foul ups of property developers either? Let's be honest folks, Ipswich? The county town of a curious county... and it shows, no matter which road you drive in on.

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    Citizen

    Monday, March 11, 2013

  • So does the new build skeleton building not class as one of these so called eyesores?? Personally I think pressure should be placed upon the owners to secure and develop these buildings instead of waiting on planning permission to rip down and create yet again another tall modern monstrosity.

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    HeritageConcerns

    Monday, March 11, 2013

  • AIN'T THIS WHAT I SAID JUST A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO IN THIS PAPER , COMPULSORY PURCHASE ? THESE SITES ARE A DISGRACE , THE OLD BURTONS OFFICES WITH THAT SCAFFOLDING ROUND IT , BEEN LIKE THAT FOR 5-6 YEARS NOW ,, MAKE THEM DO SOMETHING WITH THE BUILDING OR DEMOLISH IT ,,SICK & TIRED O SEEING THAT SCAFFOLDING THERE ,, WHY SHOULD THE OWNERS BE ABLE TO BLIGHT OUR TOWN WITH DERELICT SITES ,, ANYCASE THIS COUNCIL SHOULD MAKE A GOOD JOB OF PULLING THESE PLACES DOWN, THEY PULLED UP MOST OF THE ROADS IN OUR TOWN ???????

    Report this comment

    MIGUEL100

    Monday, March 11, 2013

  • It would be nice to get rid of that tatty looking black and yellow boarding down there on the one way system (college street)and who gave permission for that boarding at St Margarets Green to be put up spoiling the look of that corner plot?

    Report this comment

    MotorBotor

    Monday, March 11, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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