Ipswich 'village' regeneration boost

A MULTI-million land deal backed by the East of England Development Agency is poised to provide a further boost for the Ipswich Village regeneration intiative.

A MULTI-million land deal backed by the East of England Development Agency is poised to provide a further boost for the Ipswich Village regeneration intiative.

The Ipswich Buses depot in Constantine Road and the waste recycling centre off Sir Alf Ramsey Way are being lined up for a move to the site of the former Harris bacon factory in Hadleigh Road which closed six years ago.

With new industrial units also likely to be built on the 19-acre Hadleigh Road site, to replace those behind the present recycling centre in Portmen's Walk, the way will be clear for the redevelopment of nearly 10 acres of borough council land within the Ipswich Village area.

Most of that land will be used for residential development although there will also be some office accommodation, with Ipswich Buses already receiving inquiries from organisations seeking a presence near the new Crown Court complex already under construction in Russell Road.

A spokesman for EEDA confirmed that it was hoping to complete the purchase of the former Harris site "soon" as part of its "ongoing regeneration activity" in Ipswich.

He added: "It is a positive move by EEDA. Our approach will be to carry out remediation works on the site which will make it suitable for redevelopment for employment use and a masterplanning study for the site is currently being prepared."

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The EEDA spokesman added that it was too early to discuss the scheme in more detail, but Ipswich Borough Council and Ipswich Buses both welcomed the move which, including acquistion and development costs, could be worth up to £40 million.

The deal would be a further boost for the Ipswich Village initiative, following GB Railways' appointment as preferred developer for a new multi-storey car park off West End Road and Suffolk County Council's planned move into what was to have been the new TXU headquarters in Russell Road.

The Constantine Road depot opened almost exactly a century ago, in October 1903, and was originally designed for trams rather than buses. Although not a listed building, part of the façade is likely to be retained.

Malcolm Robson, managing director of Ipswich buses, said that although additional facilities had been built on the site in the 1970s and 80s, the depot no longer met modern requirements.

The new location off Hadleigh Road would not interfere with timetables but would provide improved maintenance facilities and also allow more, and larger, buses to be accommodated at the depot overnight – in line with the trend towards increased use of buses, he added.

Simon Meecham, economic development manager at Ipswich Borough Council, said the relocation of the recycling centre would prevent the problem of queuing which commonly occurred in Sir Alf Ramsey way at present.

Facilities such as the bus depot and recycling centre were difficult to locate and the Hadleigh Road site – being bounded by two railway lines, a river and a road, with no residential neighbours – was ideal, he added.

Ipswich Borough Council leader Peter Gardiner, said: "This scheme has the potential to make a major impact on the Ipswich Village area and the former bacon factory site.

"It is good news for local businesses, for Ipswich Buses and for local people. The East of England Development Agency is again showing the confidence to invest in Ipswich and we are pleased to be working with them on this project."

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