Video: Inside former court building as council seeks new tenants

David Ellesmere in the old Crown Court building. David Ellesmere in the old Crown Court building.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
11:57 AM

Ipswich council is looking for a new use for the former Crown Court building in Civic Drive.

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The court moved out nearly 10 years ago, since when it has been used by the police.

However the borough has now bought the building from the Ministry of Justice – and is hoping to give it a new lease of life.

Ultimately the borough is hoping that the site, along with the neighbouring police station, will be transferred to the owners of the former Civic Centre site who are hoping to develop it as the “Westgate Centre.”

However it is likely to be several years before that can come to fruition, so the borough is hoping that the court building can find a temporary use until then.

It is asking from expressions of interest from voluntary or community groups who are looking to rent premises for a limited period.

The borough is offering a five-year lease, which could be terminated at the end of three years if a redevelopment opportunity comes along, for a maximum rent of £20,000 a year.

Council leader David Ellesmere said: “There are all kinds of possibilities. There is a lot of office space, and there are also the old courtrooms which could have a number of uses.

“They could be used as a performance space or a lecture theatre, or for other uses. We really want people to come to us with ideas of how it could be used.”

The building does not have a long-term future, but a short-term lease could be useful to another organisation and the council itself.

Mr Ellesmere said: “If someone else comes in we would not have to pay business rates on the building or pay for the cost of security.

“We bought the site to ensure it could be linked with the police station site and be added to the former Civic Centre site in the long term, but we are keen to find a use for it in the meantime.”

20 comments

  • Rather alot of the roof in that vid.

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    Sarky Sage

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • The Old County Hall is Privately owned by an LLP based somewhere out Bury St Edmunds direction. I think personally think this is a very clever move by IBC, now Tesco is not building it's planned new store on the old B&Q site the Civic build may rise from the dead. IBC being quids in! In the mean time maybe am drama, dance groups, martial arts? Potential is massive. Well done Mr Ellesmere!!

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    T B

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • What people want is a large mall with a large major player not fragmented small ones at opposite end of the town. Tower Ramparts hopefully will take off once Iceland opens. When a leading chain opens their store their competitors often do the same..

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    m01

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • How about a bingo hall or betting shop for the Town Hall. Unfortunately most of us have a life, those that don't become councillors.

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    m01

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Who in their right mind would buy a building in the hope that someone MAY use it and MAY develop it in the future? Ipswich is struggling to fill the retail units and offices it already has let alone convert buildings built for a different purpose. For goodness sake raze the lot to the ground, level it and build a car park, at least that way traffic has a straight run from copdock and people may actually be able to get in to the town without trying not navigate the Princes St junction.

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    Sentinel Red

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Knowing how this town goes, the next Tenants will probably be drinking Tennents.

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    You What

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Wait, a minimum of three years before they can start on the Westgate Centre?????? The town is crying out for new retail space and they want to wait? Turnstone were ready with proposals two years ago, and now it'll still take three-five years before anything starts to take shape. What a joke! I understand these things take time, but all the pieces are in place now... why wait???? Level the buildings and get the site ready and put a great proposal together to draw retailers in along with the proposals to revamp the Cornhill. Ipswich cannot afford to wait.

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    Scott Brock

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Not personally familiar with the inside of this building but could it be a short term home for the beer festival?

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    amsterdam81

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • @you what - love the witty comment!

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    mr_tall

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • I think the chances of IBC outmanoeuvring hardened commercial property professionals is very slim.

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    Erm, Why?

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

  • Anyone thinking of investing in this site is mad . The town is a place to buy cheap tat and a huge retail development is never going to happen . somebody mentioned the town was crying out for retail space ! You must be joking . Tower Ramparts to take off because Iceland is there ! There's another joke . IBC gave permission for Futura Park , thats where retail is at nowadays , somewhere near major trunk road and plenty of free parking . IBC thinking it will rent the old crown court hardly a prime position or footfall ? Not very likely . The Town is in a sorry state , very sad , but a reflection of Town Centres across the country . Not much good news on the horizon i think

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    Poppys Dad

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • I for one am delighted that IBC are using taxpayers money to become property speculators.

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    Erm, Why?

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Agree with RC another building that will stay empty exactly like the building on St Helens Street. Who do the council think will move into these buildings that are obviously not fit for purpose otherwise they would not have moved out would they?. They should have refitted these lovely old buildings instead of spending millions on state of the art climate controlled buildings, most of the real world work in old buildings that have been modernised over the years. Both buildings will probaly be demolished eventually so more history lost. IBC and SCC are obsessed with changing things that need to be left alone and are not interested in maintaining the infrastructure of the town just walk around and look at the state of the roads and street fascias. They are making decisions that are spoiling this town we all love and how did we let these people get into decision making positions.

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    royg

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Couldn't the whole site be developed as a single bus station for the town? The Cattle Market and Electric House sites seem better placed for redevelopment within the central core of the town.

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    amsterdam81

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Could this be used as a short term venue for the beer festival?

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    amsterdam81

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Sentinel Red - They've bought the two sites so they can be jointly offered to the developer of the Civic Centre site to great one large site - which is going to mean a bigger and better configuration of shops. And can we move on from this town can't fill the shops it has issue? It's not because retailers don't want to come to Ipswich it's because they are not the TYPE of units modern retailers want -they don't want dingy, small deep old buildings, but large glass and steel structures with huge frontage so they an show off their goods. The sites that can't be filled should be converted to other uses such as cafe, social and restaurant space but central government limits the percentage of space within the central retail area that can be used for "non retail" uses. And before anyone says offer them to independents, well independents can't afford them and the council don't own them private landlords do and it's up to them to set the rent. Alas they often don't need to rent them as they are assets rather then income and reducing the rent would reduce the value of their asset so they'd rather it is valued higher, which means expensive rent and higher business rates (which are set by central, not local government, before anyone brings that up again) so it's a stalemate! IBC should be fast-tracking the Westgate Centre and throwing all their weight behind it. They own enough other sites which could be offered to community groups!

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    Scott Brock

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • would make a great poundshop

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    dale craven

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Surely the car park behind M&S was crying out to be an extension to the Tower Ramparts bus station.

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    m01

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • There's still not tennant for their former castle type building on St Helens Street. That's been empty for about 10 years! I won't hold my breathe for this one.

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    RC

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Ipswich Star - Estate Agency

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    Star Watch

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

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