Shopping centre hopes dashed

HOPES of a major new shopping centre for Ipswich appear to have been dashed after the town's police force said it had no plans to move.With the borough council set to leave its Civic Centre base in the summer and the former crown court building unoccupied, it had been thought bulldozers could pave the way for a major development.

HOPES of a major new shopping centre for Ipswich appear to have been dashed after the town's police force said it had no plans to move.

With the borough council set to leave its Civic Centre base in the summer and the former crown court building unoccupied, it had been thought bulldozers could pave the way for a major development.

But the uncertainty over the future of the police service in East Anglia means the town's force cannot commit to moving from its current base, in Elm Street.

A Suffolk police spokesman said: “We continually monitor our estates and buildings to ensure that we can provide the best possible service to the local community.


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“At present we are looking at investing in the present site at Ipswich rather than relocating.”

Paul Chippendale, head of economic development at the borough council, said the Civic Centre site will now be marketed in its own right.

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He said: “We've been working with the adjoining owners for some time to try to bring the whole site together but for a variety of reasons we haven't been able to do that.

“We will be looking to market the Civic Centre site on its own, although we would still encourage any developers to look at the wider potential of the site.

“It means the possibility of a major scheme, which would have a major impact on Ipswich, is less likely.”

Mr Chippendale said no developer is lined up for the Civic Centre site, although he confirmed supermarket chain Waitrose had expressed an interest.

He added: “The development of the whole site would be the best option for all the participants. The value of the site as a whole is more than the combined value of each of the sites sold separately.”

All options for the possible development of the area remain open, with the council refusing to rule out selling the Civic Centre building in its current state to be refurbished.

A spokesman for the courts service confirmed discussions are under way to accommodate the police in the old crown court, adding it was the most likely future use of the building.

The police spokesman added the force is also looking to open a one-stop customer service centre at the Town Hall, providing the public with access to the police and other local agencies all under one roof in the centre of Ipswich.

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