New look for iconic building

IPSWICH: A stunning �5million new look has been unveiled for one of the town’s most iconic buildings.

Electric House, at the top of Lloyds Avenue, could get the makeover if planners at the borough give the bold plans the green light.

The facade on to the Tower Ramparts bus station would remain but the rest of the building would be transformed into a modern block complete with a terrace restaurant at the top.

The plans have been submitted to the borough by local architects practice barefoot & gilles, who hope to have a decision from the borough’s planning and development committee by Christmas.

The design has been drawn up by architect Roger Gilles who said the final use for the building had still to be decided.

He said: “It is a very important building for Ipswich and right in the middle of the town. One side faces possibly the busiest car park in the town centre while on the other side you have the bus station, Tower Ramparts, and people walking to what is left of the Crown Car park.

“The exact use would be up to the owners and developers – but we envisage that the ground floor could be restaurants, upper floors retail, with a terrace restaurant on the top.”

Most Read

The work is being carried out for owners Corindale Properties Ltd who would be looking to market units in the building once planning permission had been decided.

Mr Gilles said: “I understand many groups are interested in taking units in the building, but work would probably not start until an anchor tenant had been signed up.”

He said completing the shell of the building would cost �1.8m and if it contained two floors of offices, fitting that would cost another �1m.

Whatever the final use of the building was, the cost of the whole project would probably end up at about �5m.

Electric House is not listed and is not in a conservation area.

“We looked at Electric House in 2004 and the current building is not easy to update or bring up to modern standards – and now that there is not a large factory on the neighbouring site it does look rather out of place.

“The facade is high-quality and we would want to retain that but it is better to start anew behind that.”

Estate agent Vanessa Penn has been acting for the developers.

She said: “This is a very exciting proposal for Ipswich with all the glazing that Roger has designed in. It has been described as a ‘wow’ factor – that seems about right.”

Borough councillor with responsibility for planning and economic development Richard Atkins said: “I have seen the plans briefly but not in any detail.

“While I cannot comment on the details of this plan, barefoot & gilles are an architects’ practice that is well-established in Ipswich with a strong feel for the town.

“And the fact that someone is prepared to invest up to �5million in the town centre is a very good sign of confidence in the town centre.”

n Do you like the proposed new building? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or you can send an e-mail to