New lease of life for terminal building

By Duncan BrodieTHE Grade II-listed former Ipswich Airport terminal building is heading for a new lease of life under plans unveiled for a multi-million-pound retail, residential and community development.

By Duncan Brodie

THE Grade II-listed former Ipswich Airport terminal building is heading for a new lease of life under plans unveiled for a multi-million-pound retail, residential and community development.

Cambridge-based Ashwell Property has been chosen by Ipswich Borough Council to bring forward proposals for a new "local centre" to serve the Ravenswood residential development on the rest of the former airport site.

The scheme – for which a planning application has now been submitted – involves the construction of two food stores and 10 other shops, which are likely to include a bakery, a pharmacy, a newsagent and a video rental outlet.


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Also planned for the seven-acre site surrounding the terminal building are a pub/restaurant, a fast food outlet, a children's nursery and a health centre bringing together two GP surgeries and community health facilities.

The terminal building is to be converted into a mix of 24 residential units and a community centre, while there will also be 31 new-build homes.

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Jonathan Clogg, commercial property director at Ashwell Property, said the external appearance of the 1930s terminal building would be retained, as would a number of important art deco interior features including steel columns and balustrading.

"Working closely with Ipswich Borough Council has enabled us to bring forward an innovative, yet sensitively-designed scheme," he added.

"Our proposals will completely transform this redundant site, bringing the former terminal building back into use and providing facilities that existing south-east Ipswich residents and the emerging community of Ravenswood really need."

The principal developer at Ravenswood is national housebuilder Bellway and the new community will eventually involve about 1,000 homes in all. Ashwell Property is due to start work on the terminal site development in September, with completion due by the end of 2004.

An additional element of the scheme unveiled yesterday is a cricket pitch/village green to be provided by the borough council.

A council spokesman said the scheme for the terminal site was a "key component" of the wider Ravenswood development and represented "a significant opportunity for us to create a sustainable community in this part of Ipswich".

Ipswich Airport was officially opened by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) on June 26, 1930.

The Modernist-style terminal building was added as part of a planned major development by the Straight Corporation, which took over the management of the airport in 1936.

The building was opened on July 9, 1938, by Captain Harold Balfour, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Air, but has been disused since the airport's closure at the end of 1996.

duncan.brodie@eadt.co.uk

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