Stunning entrance gateway to Ipswich Waterfront

Discussion in 'Local Politics' started by Ipswi, Apr 27, 2017.

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  1. Ipswi


    Almost 3 years ago Ipswich Borough Council held an design competition to create a "stunning entrance" to the Ipswich Waterfront from Stoke Bridge end. At the time, Ipswich residents weren't convinced and ever since New Year 2015 it appears this has all disappeared to be forgotten about.

    Ipswich Borough Council Press releases/news article 2014:-
    Plan for waterfront gateway

    Ipswich Borough Council is set to step in to kick-start the redevelopment of the Waterfront and turn an eyesore into an attractive gateway to the area.

    The Council wants to buy two key sites at the Stoke Bridge end of the Waterfront – the derelict silo and adjacent rough car parking area – and use them to improve public access to the Waterfront and to build new private housing.

    Ipswich Star article... (see first link above)
    The borough is to buy the two sites near Stoke Bridge – the land previously occupied by St Peter’s Warehouse which burned down in 2000 and the former Paul’s silo next to it.

    Now it is about to launch a design competition in a bid to find a new use for the site, including shops, restaurants and flats.

    The move received unanimous backing from the borough’s executive this week. Now the council will open negotiations with the landowners to buy the sites – but if these are unsuccessful it will apply for a compulsory purchase order to allow the work to get under way.

    Council leader David Ellesmere said: “We want a stunning development there to provide a worthy entrance to the Waterfront opposite the historic St Peter’s Church.

    “The homes will all be for sale, the cost of developing the site means it is uneconomic to build social housing there, but we want to ensure the building will be a real statement for the town.”

    Any redevelopment will have to retain the near-derelict lodge at the junction of College Street and Bridge Street – and this will be incorporated into the new entrance, possibly as a Waterfront Visitor Centre showing people what there is to see in the area.

    At this stage the proposed redevelopment does not include the former Burton’s building facing the River Orwell or the derelict buildings beside the Jerwood Dancehouse.

    However the borough hopes that the once the planning for this work gets under way, it will encourage the owners of those other sites to either sell or re-develop them to create a larger scheme.

    The redevelopment proposals were welcomed by Ipswich Society chairman John Norman, although he was disappointed that the former Burtons buildings were not included.

    I struggled to find any more news on the development (as opposed to the land ownership) and the competition. Is there no advanced designs put out to the public? Have they U-turned and decided to focus on the Cornhill instead?

    The comments...
    No mention of a car park, then? Still expecting the public to traipse across town on foot? Good joined up thinking there, IBC! It would be good to have the derelict buildings replaced, but lets hope they find something that will look good for decades, not just until the latest design fad stops being trendy. How about some nice grey cladding?

    A food store? Ipswich does not need another Polske Skep or a Tesco Express, and for the most parts people living in flats do not need a cresh- they may do for a short while, but for the most part young families will seek to set up a home with a garden once the children come's not like the Waterfront is a safe place for children to play! They should have thought about the historic buildings before permission was granted to build around them. Developers absolutely must not be allowed to gut these buildings and merge the facades into a modern structure. The the future of Ipswich's waterfornt is to be modern, then the historic buildings need to be moved brick by brick onto another site. Its good news that there is interest in developing it but we all need to be concerned about HOW its developed. Its Bad enough that Wolsey's gate is marooned in an island of carcenegenic car emissions and that a great many other historic buildings in Ipswich remain disused and in disrepair.

    Sentinel Red
    A giant white elephant will speak volumes.

    Driven Roundabend
    I'd like to see the design incorporate a giant-sized poster of Paul Geater. It would be a fitting tribute to the one and only man in Ipswich who still thinks the Waterfront is an asset to the town.

    PC Plod
    How about a massive statue of a white elephant with Paul Geater's head on it?

    PC Plod
    Who owns No 4 College Street and how has it been allowed to get into such an appalling state? Instead of building more new stuff that will only last 30 years, how about preserving some of the history of this shabby town. Want to be like Norwich? We don't all want glass and plastic thanks.

    The historic nature of the dockwaterfront area has been disgracefully ignored- the docks are the key to the very existence of the town which became one of England’s most important ports in Saxon times rivalled only by the likes of London and York. The planners have never seen the potential value in this aspect of the towns history. This could be an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the past rather than have it overshadowed in favour of some modernistic development as has happened on so many occasions in recent times. Ipswich has suffered at the hands of its planners for decades- Greyfriars, civic centre, Eastgate...the list of ugly white elephants that were meant to herald a bright new future for Ipswich are endless. Yes the historic and the modern can sometimes work alongside each other but to lose any more of the history of Ipswich docks would be criminal. Please let this ‘gateway’ be a sympathetic, tasteful statement!

    Having seen some of these comments, it's pretty clear that Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse spent some time in Ipswich researching their comedy characters the Miserable Old Gits!

    Paul Geater
    It's all well and good planning a "stunning" new entrance to the wonderful Waterfront, but apart from Isaac's, the pizza restaurant and a coffee shop, there's nothing there! Don't understand what's so marvellous about it. Not much to see, nothing much to do. Unless I'm missing something?

    David I
    put it back how it was in the 50s 60s 70s.

    Ipswich's Waterfront Wet Dock was once the biggest in Europe, but unfortunately still not big enough to fit all Ipswich's whingers in it.

    Mark Ling
    I think the only thing that may turn out stunning is David Ellesmere's fixed smile we see no matter what the news. It's going to take an awful lot of money to make the entrance stunning. You have the grim Stoke Bridge area to the right and even the new build down there is starting to look shabby in the shape of buildings like The Mill. The wood cladding hasn't had any maintenance done to it since it badly shows. No 4 College Street is a victim of its location on the busy one-way system by traffic lights. If it is that old then I would not disagree with Sentinel Red that it should be moved and restored. I am not from Suffolk and have no plans to stay here so can't think I will see any major improvements before I move on.

    Chris D
    "A real statement for the town"? Yes, that statement being: IBC & SCC only care about the Waterfront as a way of generating more business and tourism, whilst the rest of the town falls into rack and ruin. Let's see. We've got the dilapidated areas of Hadleigh road, most notably the old Geest Building, which is surrounded by 8 foot weeds and anti-vandal fencing. What an absolute eye sore that's been that way for a long time. In plain view of the recent concert goers. Nice one IBC. What a fantastic advert for the town. Then we have the hospital car-park full of weeds, affronting the ancient and ugly maternity ward. You know, using the excuse of "We're trying to encourage bees" as an excuse for not using weed killer, is BS. Then we have the decommissioned Park & Ride site opposite Asda, which has been like that for years. And speaking of Asda, what was the recent patchwork 'resurfacing' work all about on that road? What an embarrassingly poor piece of work, but to be expected of IBC & SCC I guess. And then there's the embarrassment of the Copdock Interchange, which is also over-growing with weeds in a bid to save money. Ipswich is slowly turning into a Shanty town, thanks to years of incompetent, lazy & indifferent councillors. And in typical reactive council style, nothing ever gets done until it's too late. Just look at the Capel St Mary underpass. How many kids had to die crossing the A12 before these imbeciles woke up and did something about it? I personally knew one of the boys who died crossing it in the late 80s. I'm sorry but after 2.5 decades of seeing Ipswich fall into decline, I cannot and will not get excited by anything like this because IBC's dreams far outweigh their ability to actually achieve them.

    Perhaps an open, green space between the timber framed building on the corner and the river, so that people approaching from St Peters church can get an idea that there’s a river ahead, not just a jumble of buildings. Look at how that once fine old building gets lost amongst the tall developments behind. The new has swallowed up the old buildings that make the area aesthetically pleasing and attractive to visit. Use the assets that still exist to your advantage, don’t drown them in modern rubbish!

    Calling the restaurant at The Salthouse top-notch really is a stretch.

    Esco Fiasco
    The docks will always be the docks to me . Now all it is is somewhere for the well off to keep their boats.and old buildings made into flats.and the history of Ipswich has been destroyed by money making schemes. Call me old. Someone who lives in the past but i have seen many changes in many years and most just make me laugh...

    The quality of build around the whole of the Waterfront isn't very good. In many instances I would call it cheap build. Jerwood House opened 2009 and the first bit of wind we got 2013 it blew half the cladding off.

    Chris D
    If it's anything like the rest of the architecture that's been built around the Wet Dock in the 20 years I've been in Ipswich, the only way the word "stunning" will apply will be as in "stunningly ugly".

    Oh no! What's going to happen to our lovely blue Octopus, Digby ? Let's start a "save the octopus campaign".. Now as much a tourist attraction as any other part of the Waterfront..!

    I'm not even sure I would call the Salthouse top notch. Expensive for where it is. I once went with my sister for what we thought would be a quiet Sunday lunch only to find them playing pop music and far to loud. Not the sign of a class venue.

    Chris D
    Flats, flats and yet more flats. Many property developers are now saying buyers are not wanting flates but houses. Even ignoring that, all 23 stories of the tallest part of The Mill are unoccupied and many more of the flats around the docks are empty, yet building more is deemed to be spectacular. How about creating something that will draw people to the dock area? There is nothing to do there once you get fed up of looking at expensive yachts. A few restaurants and the only bar in the area serves you drinks in plastic beakers. To make the area a long-term success that will justify all the hype is to create something people will want to return to. At the moment it's just somewhere that people visit but has nothing to bring them back as it can all be done in a day.

    Esco Fiasco
    I echo some of the comments about the need to retain the genuine historical assets and their context. The Custom House and Wolsey's Gate are some of the town's finest gems. It is tragic that the Gate in particular is isolated in a one way system from hell. That historical building in the picture looks worthy of restoration; the monstrosities behind it look worthy of demolition. New doesn't always mean better as someone said the "new" and experimental developments of Greyfriars, Tower Ramparts and Eastgate. Such great names of historical significance but their modern namesakes wereare commercial disasters.

    Steve Blake
    Welcome to the new IPSWI beta!
  2. martinc


    I recall there being an announcement that £50k had been put aside for a study into improvements to the area. Since then the railway line have been removed, and some areas resurfaced but nothing else at all to improve the "gateway" to the Waterfront....  and no sign of the study results.. typical for Ipswich then...

    I think Digby the octopus will be with us for a few more years yet..
  3. dan5

    dan5ModeratorStaff Member

    I am not keen on the octopus as a long term feature but I think I will be part of a campaign to save it :D

    I just wish they will give up on the Ipswich Waterfront... initial plans for the Ipswich Waterfront and the link between the town centre and the waterfront were actually spectacular. The green space on the island site would have also enhanced the area. An expansion to the old B&Q "Tesco" site and on to Cardinal Park would have made it a significant area. We must be on around a development of 9% of the original plans (that includes a completed wine rack). It really could have been amazing and a city hub if the Mint Quarter came as part of it. Depressing. Why have we all not just moved away somewhere better?
  4. dan5

    dan5ModeratorStaff Member

    Any updates to the Ipswich Waterfront Gateway?
  5. wrightie

    wrightieNew Member

    • Informative Informative x 1
    • martinc


    • dan5

      dan5ModeratorStaff Member

      Soon, I will be pushing for the Ipswich Democratic Group... currently there is nothing holding Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Central and Ipswich Vision to account.

      Ipswich Borough Council used the excuse of waiting for the commercial sector to do something. There is considerable evidence to suggest - relative to the amount of marketing focus it has - that Ipswich Waterfront has failed. Unfortunately there is no published data to determine what the combined investment, trade turnover and profit of the waterfront area is compared to the town and other parts of the town.

      Therefore, Ipswich Borough Council shouldn't be encouraged to gamble taxpayers money on this project.

      The gateway concept is BS as David Ellesmere said himself, what will be built is flats (yes more flats). I do recall a young student designing some heritage centre, seems to have been binned. Of course, the borough has probably moved on and forgot about this project... hinting at that Grafton-Way-Tesco development they had managed to pack into the site of the old Drum & Monkey pub. (The current flats and hotel proposal for the Grafton Way site is embarrassing... it will get the go ahead and likely to be built. Might have been a good site for university expansion. )

      It explains the desperation surrounding the Upper Orwell Crossing project... they need something to move the waterfront forward... the bridge isn't it!

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