£1million-plus facelift on the timetable for Ipswich station
PUBLISHED: 06:00 22 January 2015
Ipswich station is to get a major facelift with work starting later in the year.
Planning permission was granted by the Ipswich council yesterday for major internal changes to the main station building – which will see the W.H.Smith bookstall and Upper Crust cafe swept away to be replaced by an indoor concourse.
Outside Suffolk County Council and the borough council will be working with Abellio Greater Anglia to make major changes to the front of the station and improve access to buses, taxis, and drivers dropping off or picking up rail passengers.
Ipswich council’s planning and development committee gave permission for the internal changes to the station.
The entrance to the station will remain where it is, with the ticket counter remaining in the same place. However once the bookstall and the cafe have been removed, the ticket barriers will be moved to a position on the right of the station entrance.
The current entrance to the platform will be closed, and people will reach trains through the new concourse beyond the barriers.
Within this concourse there will be three retail outlets and a number of seats for passengers waiting for trains.
The external appearance of the station should not change dramatically as a result of the work.
A spokesman for Abellio Greater Anglia said the exact timetable for the work had not yet been decided: “But if things go according to plan we do hope to get under way towards the end of the summer.”
The internal work would be linked to the improvements to the forecourt, but county councillor cabinet member for transport Graham Newman said details on that are still discussion.
The cost of the work at the station is being split between Abellio Greater Anglia (£500,000), Suffolk County Council (£480,000) and the borough council (£120,000).
Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere said the work on the station should make life easier for travellers: “This is good news – and we have pledged a substantial contribution to the work on the forecourt which should make it easier for people approaching the station.”
Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, who has been campaigning to improve the line, said: “I am pleased that we are moving ahead with these plans.
“It is another step in the upgrade of the entire line – investment that we have fought for and won. Soon Ipswich passengers will have refurbished trains and an improved station – a good first step to the new, more comfortable, more reliable and more rapid and more frequent trains that will come by the end of the decade.
“Can I also say that I commend Suffolk and Ipswich councils for co-funding this scheme – it is good to see everyone pulling in the same direction on this.’
The work at Ipswich is part of a programme of station upgrades by Abellio Greater Anglia.
Work has already been completed at Cambridge and Bishops Stortford in the west of the region and is currently under way at Chelmsford.