New Ipswich Crown Car Park delayed – but could be open at end of April

Work is still ongoing at Crown car park. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Work is still ongoing at Crown car park. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Work to complete the Crown Car Park in Ipswich is unlikely to be completed until the second half of April – three months late.

The work to build the 546-space multi-storey car park which was originally supposed to have opened before the end of January – and then by the end of February.

However a spokesman for Suffolk County Council said the road closure orders that were granted to allow the work to be carried out always said the roads in the area would be blocked until the end of April.

The car park is now starting to take on its final appearance with the first cladding currently being applied to the system-built structure – but there is still a considerable amount to do.

But borough officials are confident the park will be opened well before the first anniversary of the start of work on the site at the end of May.

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The surface area of the car park re-opened briefly in the run-up to Christmas, but closed again to allow the contractors to move their equipment back to the site to allow the final work to be completed.

Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere said: “We are disappointed that the car park has not opened yet and that there is not yet a firm date for it to be completed and open to the public.”

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He said the borough was in regular contact with the contractors and Suffolk Highways to try to ensure the work was completed and the car park opened as soon as possible.

He added: “We are obviously very keen to ensure that drivers can use the car park as soon as possible.”

The new £5.5m car park will occupy about two thirds of the site of the original Crown Car Park – the rest will be left as a surface car park.

However if it proves so popular that it is often full to capacity, the multi-storey park could be extended in future years so the park has a capacity of 800. The former car park that was closed in 2009 had room for 1,000 vehicles.

That had to be shut after it was discovered that it had been irreparably damaged by “concrete cancer” – where steel reinforcing concrete starts to rust and lose its structural integrity.

The new car park is technically a “temporary structure” – but has an expected life of 40 years which is five years longer than the “permanent” building that was closed in 2009 and demolished a year later.

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