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What's The Hold Up With The Suffolk Record Office?

Discussion in 'Town Centre (Central Ipswich)' started by dan5, Aug 7, 2017.

  1. dan5

    dan5ModeratorStaff Member

    A project which has been in the background for many years and formally adopted in 2015. A joint venture between Suffolk County Council and University of Suffolk, there has been some significant attempt by both relevant local councils - Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council - into off-loading council assets gifted to the struggling new university. Ipswich Museum & Art School was one of them - to have been developed as what would have been the university's north Ipswich campus ("High Street Campus") - and the Suffolk Record Office is just another example of the same. Why near the waterfront? Why on the Ipswich UoS campus? More to the point, why is it taking so long?


    The brand new building complete with auditorium and cafe (do we really need another cafe?) was designed as a cost-saving measure... (you already know where this is going with public sector efficiency and common sense in political circles, don't you?) at £10m plus 50% rise before a planning application has even been filed at the local council's planning department. Existing locations of record offices are to remain.

    Are they or aren't they? Is this building not replacing all county record offices into one central location? Is the staff not all relocating to Ipswich? On the face of it this appears just an excuse and cunning trick to make the University of Suffolk campus look bigger and more developed. The intention is obviously to permit access to the uni students but would still remain primarily a place of work for the council's Record Office staff. Even the name has that Varsity-arrogance to it. The more aptly named Suffolk Record Office would suffice rather than "The Hold" - with a 360 degree U-turn, in the short term the building won't be holding much... with most records remaining in storage at existing record offices across the county, rather than a central replacement.

    How will it save money with the growing costs to build? The £10m initial price tag to be obtained from a Heritage Lottery Funding grant, is already at £15m. Funding was expected in the first half of 2017 at the very latest. If the grant was to go ahead to get the ball rolling, the county council would need to dig deep to fund the remainder. I would estimate a further £5m rise to £20m if the project begins in the next 18 months.

    This building has clearly been put on hold. I am not sure if either councils understand this yet, but generally speaking the lottery doesn't like funding university projects. As soon as you attach or hint at the University of Suffolk you are most likely to get turned down. It was also a long shot a modern building from heritage lottery funding for the way they go about storing historical documents? Universities are a business - either direct income from non-domestic students or grant income for domestic students... the lottery fund would expect them to properly budget for capital projects for growth. I agree, they shouldn't be making grants to universities. University of Suffolk can borrow money from a bank and get grants from the council.
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