Ipswich: Design competition for “stunning” entrance to the Waterfront

No. 4 College Street, Ipswich No. 4 College Street, Ipswich

Thursday, August 14, 2014
3:26 PM

The search has started for a “stunning” design of buildings to transform the entrance to Ipswich Waterfront.

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The borough is to buy the two sites near Stoke Bridge – the land previously occupied by St Peter’s Warehouse which burned down in 2000 and the former Paul’s silo next to it.

Now it is about to launch a design competition in a bid to find a new use for the site, including shops, restaurants and flats.

The move received unanimous backing from the borough’s executive this week. Now the council will open negotiations with the landowners to buy the sites – but if these are unsuccessful it will apply for a compulsory purchase order to allow the work to get under way.

Council leader David Ellesmere said: “We want a stunning development there to provide a worthy entrance to the Waterfront opposite the historic St Peter’s Church.

“The homes will all be for sale, the cost of developing the site means it is uneconomic to build social housing there, but we want to ensure the building will be a real statement for the town.”

Any redevelopment will have to retain the near-derelict lodge at the junction of College Street and Bridge Street – and this will be incorporated into the new entrance, possibly as a Waterfront Visitor Centre showing people what there is to see in the area.

At this stage the proposed redevelopment does not include the former Burton’s building facing the River Orwell or the derelict buildings beside the Jerwood Dancehouse.

However the borough hopes that the once the planning for this work gets under way, it will encourage the owners of those other sites to either sell or re-develop them to create a larger scheme.

The redevelopment proposals were welcomed by Ipswich Society chairman John Norman, although he was disappointed that the former Burtons buildings were not included.

He said: “We do need something there and I am delighted that the council is taking this pro-active approach. It would be very disappointing if nothing happens to that third building because frankly it is the worst of the lot!

“The building on the corner, Number 4 College Street, dates from about 1700 and deserves to have a new use. It will be good to include that in the redevelopment proposal.”

Mr Norman doubted whether the site would be attractive to bars or restaurants because it is not directly next to the water.

However it could prove popular for a food store or other retailer – or for a creche operator keen to offer services to owners of flats in the area.

If the council succeeds in negotiating with the current owners of the sites it is hoped the work should be able to start before the end of next year.

If it has to go through a compulsory purchase order, it is unlikely that work to redevelop the sites would be able to start before the middle of 2016.

35 comments

  • Wheres the Luftwaffe when you need them?

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    JC

    Sunday, August 17, 2014

  • "A real statement for the town"? Yes, that statement being: IBC & SCC only care about the Waterfront as a way of generating more business and tourism, whilst the rest of the town falls into rack and ruin. Let's see. We've got the dilapidated areas of Hadleigh road, most notably the old Geest Building, which is surrounded by 8 foot weeds and anti-vandal fencing. What an absolute eye sore that's been that way for a long time. In plain view of the recent concert goers. Nice one IBC. What a fantastic advert for the town. Then we have the hospital car-park full of weeds, affronting the ancient and ugly maternity ward. You know, using the excuse of "We're trying to encourage bees" as an excuse for not using weed killer, is BS. Then we have the decommissioned Park & Ride site opposite Asda, which has been like that for years. And speaking of Asda, what was the recent patchwork 'resurfacing' work all about on that road? What an embarrassingly poor piece of work, but to be expected of IBC & SCC I guess. And then there's the embarrassment of the Copdock Interchange, which is also over-growing with weeds in a bid to save money. Ipswich is slowly turning into a Shanty town, thanks to years of incompetent, lazy & indifferent councillors. And in typical reactive council style, nothing ever gets done until it's too late. Just look at the Capel St Mary underpass. How many kids had to die crossing the A12 before these imbeciles woke up and did something about it? I personally knew one of the boys who died crossing it in the late 80s. I'm sorry but after 2.5 decades of seeing Ipswich fall into decline, I cannot and will not get excited by anything like this because IBC's dreams far outweigh their ability to actually achieve them.

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    Custard_Bung

    Friday, August 15, 2014

  • Perhaps an open, green space between the timber framed building on the corner and the river, so that people approaching from St Peters church can get an idea that there’s a river ahead, not just a jumble of buildings. Look at how that once fine old building gets lost amongst the tall developments behind. The new has swallowed up the old buildings that make the area aesthetically pleasing and attractive to visit. Use the assets that still exist to your advantage, don’t drown them in modern rubbish!

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    DSealy

    Friday, August 15, 2014

  • @mmm Spot on. Walk down Lower Brook St and you can see how The Mill is now discoloured, and on the opposite side the cladding torn off almost a year ago has still not been repaired. It's things like this that stick in the minds of visitors. No doubt my views will be disparaged by the blinkered who view it as nothing more than bashing the area, when infact it's a view born of frustration at wanting to see it done with a coherent long-term view rather than the current policy which just seems to be extremely disjointed. Where are the plans for easy access to the area? Of making the approaches for visitors more attractive? Increased public transport to the area. The docks isn't the Field of Dreams, more is needed than just building flats and expecting them to come.

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    Esco Fiasco

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • Calling the restaurant at The Salthouse top-notch really is a stretch.

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    Esco Fiasco

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • Flats, flats and yet more flats. Many property developers are now saying buyers are not wanting flates but houses. Even ignoring that, all 23 stories of the tallest part of The Mill are unoccupied and many more of the flats around the docks are empty, yet building more is deemed to be spectacular. How about creating something that will draw people to the dock area? There is nothing to do there once you get fed up of looking at expensive yachts. A few restaurants and the only bar in the area serves you drinks in plastic beakers. To make the area a long-term success that will justify all the hype is to create something people will want to return to. At the moment it's just somewhere that people visit but has nothing to bring them back as it can all be done in a day.

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    Esco Fiasco

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • I echo some of the comments about the need to retain the genuine historical assets and their context. The Custom House and Wolsey's Gate are some of the town's finest gems. It is tragic that the Gate in particular is isolated in a one way system from hell. That historical building in the picture looks worthy of restoration; the monstrosities behind it look worthy of demolition. New doesn't always mean better as someone said the "new" and experimental developments of Greyfriars, Tower Ramparts and Eastgate. Such great names of historical significance but their modern namesakes wereare commercial disasters.

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    Steve Blake

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • The docks will always be the docks to me . Now all it is is somewhere for the well off to keep their boats.and old buildings made into flats.and the history of Ipswich has been destroyed by money making schemes. Call me old. Someone who lives in the past but i have seen many changes in many years and most just make me laugh...

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    kev

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • The quality of build around the whole of the Waterfront isn't very good. In many instances I would call it cheap build. Jerwood House opened 2009 and the first bit of wind we got 2013 it blew half the cladding off.

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    Chris D

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • two sticks of dynamite may do the trick

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    Lee mundy

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • beer lover, much of it's fine, and buildings like the original Contship conversion next to the Old Customs House are very good. But it's all let down by some of the more recent stuff, in particular The Mill, which apart from the eyesore of the unrepaired wind damage, appears now to be turning green.

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    mmm

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • Silk hat on a pig etc...

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    Lee Davies

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • If it's anything like the rest of the architecture that's been built around the Wet Dock in the 20 years I've been in Ipswich, the only way the word "stunning" will apply will be as in "stunningly ugly".

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    beerlover

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • Oh no! What's going to happen to our lovely blue Octopus, Digby ? Let's start a "save the octopus campaign".. Now as much a tourist attraction as any other part of the Waterfront..!

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    mmm

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • Ahhh the old compulsory purchase trick - once again IBC reveals its - well if you don't like it, it doesn't matter because we're going to do it anyway attitude.

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    dale craven

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • Well said Mark Ling!

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    Robotix

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • I'm not even sure I would call the Salthouse top notch. Expensive for where it is. I once went with my sister for what we thought would be a quiet Sunday lunch only to find them playing pop music and far to loud. Not the sign of a class venue.

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    Chris D

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • blue&white - I'm not going to get into an argument, but yes, I have eaten at The Salthouse, yes, I have been to the University bar and yes, I have been in the gallery. Tony, the owner, is actually a friend of a friend and framed a signed football shirt for me a couple of years ago! So you can take my post any way you like. All I'm saying is that these are not places I'm going to want to visit on a regular basis and I don't understand all the hyping up of the Waterfront. Vastly overrated.

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    David I

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • David I - you have obviously never attended one of the shows at the Jerwood Dance House. Or looked around the gallery. Or eaten at the top-notch restaurant at the Salthouse. Or visited the bar at the UCS. Or taken any of the Orwell Lady special cruises. It's not the fault of any of those places if they don't suit your own personal preferences for a day out - but they do lots of other people's, you know. And if you state in all seriousness that there's "just a couple" of eateries, bars, cafes etc. down there, then I really can't take your post seriously.

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    blue&white

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • put it back how it was in the 50s 60s 70s.

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    TERENCE MANNING

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • Ipswich's Waterfront Wet Dock was once the biggest in Europe, but unfortunately still not big enough to fit all Ipswich's whingers in it.

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    Mark Ling

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • blue&white - so, Jerwood Dance House, the Custom House, a hotel, the university, and a gallery? Hmm, loads to do there then! And not sure about 'umpteen' restaurants, bars, bistros and cafes? There's a couple. And as for river boat trips? Yeah, obviously that's something everyone wants to do whenever they have a spare couple of hours! I do go to Isaac's quite often though in fairness. Which is how I know there's nothing much down there!

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    David I

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • Ipswichite - I won't resort to getting personal, as you have done, but this town has lost all it's history and heritage and it is such a shame. Renaming Tower Ramparts (which is roughly where the ramparts were) to Sailmakers is not going to make it any more attractive. And I've not been in it for years.

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    MollieMunch

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • David I - well, no, there's nothing there, nothing to see or to do... apart from the Jerwood Dance House; the Old Custom House; the John Russell Gallery; the Salthouse Harbour Hotel; the boat trips on the Orwell Lady and the Sailing Barge Victor; the entire University Campus Suffolk; and umpteen boutiques, restaurants, bars, bistros and cafes. Apart from those, no, you've missed nothing. You don't get down there much, do you?

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    blue&white

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • I think the only thing that may turn out stunning is David Ellesmere's fixed smile we see no matter what the news. It's going to take an awful lot of money to make the entrance stunning. You have the grim Stoke Bridge area to the right and even the new build down there is starting to look shabby in the shape of buildings like The Mill. The wood cladding hasn't had any maintenance done to it since it badly shows. No 4 College Street is a victim of its location on the busy one-way system by traffic lights. If it is that old then I would not disagree with Sentinel Red that it should be moved and restored. I am not from Suffolk and have no plans to stay here so can't think I will see any major improvements before I move on.

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    Chris D

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • Having seen some of these comments, it's pretty clear that Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse spent some time in Ipswich researching their comedy characters the Miserable Old Gits!

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    Paul Geater

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • It's all well and good planning a "stunning" new entrance to the wonderful Waterfront, but apart from Isaac's, the pizza restaurant and a coffee shop, there's nothing there! Don't understand what's so marvellous about it. Not much to see, nothing much to do. Unless I'm missing something?

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    David I

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • The historic nature of the dockwaterfront area has been disgracefully ignored- the docks are the key to the very existence of the town which became one of England’s most important ports in Saxon times rivalled only by the likes of London and York. The planners have never seen the potential value in this aspect of the towns history. This could be an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the past rather than have it overshadowed in favour of some modernistic development as has happened on so many occasions in recent times. Ipswich has suffered at the hands of its planners for decades- Greyfriars, civic centre, Eastgate...the list of ugly white elephants that were meant to herald a bright new future for Ipswich are endless. Yes the historic and the modern can sometimes work alongside each other but to lose any more of the history of Ipswich docks would be criminal. Please let this ‘gateway’ be a sympathetic, tasteful statement!

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    DSealy

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • MollieMunch, Norwich is a beautiful city where modern compliments historic so not sure what you're moaning about about there, and as for the other usual negative muck that articles like this attract, lighten up and have a little faith in IBC planners for a change. Modernity can be beautiful too, just look at the Willis building and the UCS. I bet MollieMunch wouldn't refuse to shop in the shiny new Sailmakers, regardless of how much glass and plastic they refurb it with.

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    Ipswichite

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • How about a massive statue of a white elephant with Paul Geater's head on it?

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    PC Plod

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • Who owns No 4 College Street and how has it been allowed to get into such an appalling state? Instead of building more new stuff that will only last 30 years, how about preserving some of the history of this shabby town. Want to be like Norwich? We don't all want glass and plastic thanks.

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    MollieMunch

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • A food store? Ipswich does not need another Polske Skep or a Tesco Express, and for the most parts people living in flats do not need a cresh- they may do for a short while, but for the most part young families will seek to set up a home with a garden once the children come along....it's not like the Waterfront is a safe place for children to play! They should have thought about the historic buildings before permission was granted to build around them. Developers absolutely must not be allowed to gut these buildings and merge the facades into a modern structure. The the future of Ipswich's waterfornt is to be modern, then the historic buildings need to be moved brick by brick onto another site. Its good news that there is interest in developing it but we all need to be concerned about HOW its developed. Its Bad enough that Wolsey's gate is marooned in an island of carcenegenic car emissions and that a great many other historic buildings in Ipswich remain disused and in disrepair.

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    Sentinel Red

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • A giant white elephant will speak volumes.

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    Driven Roundabend

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • I'd like to see the design incorporate a giant-sized poster of Paul Geater. It would be a fitting tribute to the one and only man in Ipswich who still thinks the Waterfront is an asset to the town.

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    PC Plod

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • No mention of a car park, then? Still expecting the public to traipse across town on foot? Good joined up thinking there, IBC! It would be good to have the derelict buildings replaced, but lets hope they find something that will look good for decades, not just until the latest design fad stops being trendy. How about some nice grey cladding?

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    Alice

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

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

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