Major new waterfront plans revealed

PLANS for a major new development providing more than 500 homes and a host of community facilities at the heart of the Ipswich Waterfront can be revealed for the first time today.

PLANS for a major new development providing more than 500 homes and a host of community facilities at the heart of the Ipswich Waterfront can be revealed for the first time today.

Developer Persimmon Homes is proposing to build one of the most ambitious schemes yet at the highly sought-after dockside site.

As well as providing 566 apartments, the development - called Eagle Wharf - will also house community facilities, office and retail space.

It will bring a new GP surgery to the emerging community, a sizeable visitor attraction building, and an outdoor performance space for theatre groups such as the town's Red Rose Chain.

The design, by RMA architects, has been submitted to planners at Ipswich Borough Council and work could start on the site, at the Patteson Road end of the waterfront, by next year if it is given the go-ahead.

It will take about four years to build, although people will be able to buy the apartments after the first year.

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The buildings will range from four to 14 storeys high and 25% of the apartments will be affordable housing.

The development, which is expected to cost in the region of £50million, has been designed around three separate courtyards.

The first buildings will be timber-cladded and will feature 1,000 square metres of space for a visitor attraction along the waterfront promenade. It will have a more intimate courtyard that will be sheltered by trees.

The second courtyard is elongated with a horse-shoe shape at the end.

It will rake-up at the back to create a natural amphitheatre and outdoor performance venue for community groups.

The apartments around it will have a smooth screen in white render, with balconies projecting out.

The third section will be dominated by a landmark tower, which will act as a fullstop to the whole of the waterfront development and reflect the RW Paul Malting tower on the northern quay.

The buildings around the tower will feature more traditional red brick while the landmark itself will be made of colourful panels to give it a more modern and abstract look.

Andrew Jay, managing director for Essex-based Persimmon Homes, said: “The most important thing is that we have been working closely with Ipswich Borough Council throughout this whole process.

“We share the borough council's ambitions for it to be a dynamic water-side environment and it will compliment all of the borough council's requirements, which we agree with.

“It will be a lovely public area with high quality homes as well as a mix of employment and leisure.

“We are providing the facilities really for the benefit of the new emerging community and the visitors down there, which will help our scheme work.

“It will make the scheme have the wow factor, like the docklands.

“The development will bring the land back into the public realm. These sites, before we got hold of them, were fenced off.

“These are not gated communities, which is why we are introducing these public areas into the scheme.

“It will be managed by us on behalf of the visitors and residents.”

Robert Macdonald, managing director of the architects' firm, said: “The design has been evolving over the last nine months and we have been working very closely with Ipswich town planners.

“It seeks to provide almost every apartment with a direct or oblique view of the docks.

“The whole of the Waterfront area from the Dance East studio and Cranfield Mill in the north-east sector to our site on the southern tip of the wet dock has become one enormous area of leisure uses.

“We are trying to encourage people from the town centre to come down to the waterfront and it will really become, in time, an extension of the Ipswich town centre.”

The unveiling of the development comes as Persimmon revealed it had sold 12 apartments in a single day on another site it is developing on Orwell Quay on the waterfront, generating £3.5million in sales.

The purchasers placed their 5% deposit during an exclusive launch event to secure one of 84 apartments at the Capstan building - including one of two luxury two-bedroom penthouse apartments.

Persimmon has sold almost 100 waterside apartments at Orwell Quay so far with a sales value of £20million, although the newest apartments will not be ready until early 2006.

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