Derelict site’s �40m facelift will bring hundreds of jobs

IPSWICH: An Ipswich eyesore is set to be re-developed into a new trading estate, bringing hundreds of jobs to the town.

The derelict Crane factory site is to be re-born as a �40million trading estate.

The new Cranes Park development, which could be set up as soon as next year, will mean hundreds of new jobs created across a wide range of businesses.

When the former factory closed a couple of years ago, it was the end of another era in the town’s heavy engineering heritage.

At its peak the factory had employed hundreds of people, with a foundry, workshops and production sheds.

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The company still has a head office in the town, at nearby Ransomes Europark, but production takes place is elsewhere in the country and abroad.

The 44-acre former factory site in Nacton Road has been sold and is zoned for employment.

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The new owners have been drawing up plans for a new future.

Surveyor Richard Coke, of Coke Gearing Consulting, revealed he would be submitting a draft Cranes Park master plan on behalf of the owners to Ipswich Borough Council next month for consideration.

“We expect to be in a position to start on site, following infrastructure works, in Spring/Summer 2011,” he said.

The overall scheme represents an investment of around �60m, with potential businesses including offices, industrial, and trade counter retail.

Mr Coke added: “It is a big employment site. We have been putting a scheme together on behalf of the owners and have already had some interest despite the economically difficult market.

“With brownfield sites there are always issues like contamination and demolition and that sort of thing and these are the short term costs.” In the longer term around �40m would be invested in new buildings on Cranes Park, providing 600,000 sq ft of accommodation on 30 acres of the land.

“The total investment is something in the order of �60m,” added Mr Coke.

Ipswich Borough Council will consider granting planning permission later this year. Richard Atkins, councillor with special responsibility for planning and business development said: “This certainly is an important site for the town, particularly as Ransomes Europark is pretty much full.

“We need more employment sites to be available, both here and elsewhere in the town. Even in the 1960s Crane was a very big employer.

“I worked at Ransomes and knew it well. The factories employed hundreds of people. It shows the way employment has changed over the years.”

n What do you think of the new plans? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@evening

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