‘Exemplary’ Quay Place project in Ipswich hailed by judges in RICS East of England Awards

Quay Place, Ipswich
Picture: Andy Marshall

Quay Place, Ipswich Picture: Andy Marshall - Credit: Archant

Three building projects in Suffolk and north Essex have been named among the winners in the 2017 Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Awards for the East of England.

Old meets new in the Quay Place wellbeing and heritage centre

Old meets new in the Quay Place wellbeing and heritage centre - Credit: Archant

Quay Place in Ipswich received the Building Conservation award, Mill Farm Windmill at Cockfield, near Lavenham, won the Tourism & Leisure title and 37 Queen Street in Colchester was honoured in the Regeneration category.

The Quay Place project, a partnership between the Churches Conservation Trust and Suffolk Mind, involved a £5.1m scheme to rescue the medieval St Mary at the Quay Church, which is Grade II*-listed and was previously on the “at risk” register.

It has been converted into a heritage and community centre, using a combination of traditional construction and cutting-edge innovation, which the RICS judges described as an “exemplary” approach to building conservation.

Mill Farm Windmill, which was previously derelict, with its cap and sails lost, has been converted into a unique holiday let featuring a zinc and cross-laminated timber pod.

Mill Farm Windmill at Cockfield. Picture: Ashworth Photography

Mill Farm Windmill at Cockfield. Picture: Ashworth Photography - Credit: Archant

The judges said: “The design of the mill has created an iconic and recognisable form for the local landscape. Through the use of innovative and brave design decisions the mill has become a destination in its own right, bringing added tourism and interest to the local area.”

Number 37 Queen Street dates from the 1860s and has served variously as a soldiers’ retirement home, a police station and a nightclub and bar. It has now been transformed by owner Colchester Borough Council into a creative and digital business centre, combining the building’s historic features with ultra-modern facilities and connectivity.

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“There is a growing body of evidence that regeneration focused on the creative economy is more successful than other models,” said the judges. “By catalysing creativity in Colchester, further investment is expected to follow.”

The overall Project of the Year title at the awards, announced during a ceremony at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds, went to the £10.6m Arthur Rank Hospice development in Cambridge which also won the Community Benefit category.

No 37 Queen Street, Colchester.

No 37 Queen Street, Colchester. - Credit: Archant

Other winning schemes include the King’s Lynn Innovation Centre (Commercial), The Enterprise Centre, Norwich (Design Through Innovation), the Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project, Rochford (Infrastructure) and Bracelet Close, Thurrock (Residential).

The chairman of the RICS East of England judging panel, Jonathan Nelson of Richard Utting Associates, said: “These exceptional built schemes are already having a positive impact on their local communities and are helping to ensure the East of England remains one of the best region’s to live, work and visit.

“The teams behind them should be incredibly proud as they have shown just what is achievable with vision and an innovative approach to collaboration.”

He added: “Despite the ongoing skills shortages in the construction industry, every year our region’s professionals continue to deliver world-class built projects.

The Arthur Rank Hospice in Cambridge

The Arthur Rank Hospice in Cambridge - Credit: Archant

“This shows that we have some of the best skilled property professionals and surveyors, who together are attracting significant investment into the East of England, helping the region to prosper.”

All the category winners will go on to compete against other regional winners at the national RICS Awards Grand Final on November 2 in London for the chance to be crowned the overall UK winner in their respective categories.