Following a competition the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) have
at last announced their development partner for the Cranfield's Mill site.
Cranfield's is EEDA's biggest redevelopment scheme and is set to become the
star in urban regeneration across the East of England. This scheme brings
investments in Ipswich by EEDA to £5 million, including £2.7 m on Felaw
Maltings and £400,000 on the Northern Quays repaving scheme.
Wharfside Regeneration, led by Angel Property (Charles Style and his brother
Spencer) are the successful developers and plan a wide range of mixed uses
on the site. At the launch, architect John Lyall pointed out how close the
site is to the very heart of Ipswich town centre, and that by ensuring
direct public access from the north and open walkways across the site the
public will quickly find their way to the Waterfront. Along the colonnades
there will be restaurants, bars, galleries and cafes. Above live/work units
and a large open space - the studios of Dance East. The high number of
residential units proposed will suit the location and the existing silos
give an indication of the height, mass and density proposed.
A cross-section of the site shown to an audience of councillors, civic
dignitaries and members of the business community showed an indicative
height no taller than the tower of St Peter's Church. There were suggestions
that some of the older buildings, without architectural or historical merit
would come down, as would the steel and asbestos-clad shed-like structures.
Their form, however, is likely to be repeated in modern materials,
particularly on the elevation overhanging Albion Wharf.
Much emphasis was placed on the likely synergy between Dance East and their
activities in the building, between the digital arts concepts that Spencer
Style is trying to introduce and in the computer communication links between
the occupiers of the buildings (a broadband backbone based intranet).
Peter Gardiner, Leader of Ipswich Borough Council, welcomed the launch,
suggesting it was an important day for the town. Ipswich Borough Council
owned little on the Waterfront (except for the Customs House, where the
launch took place) yet had seen a substantial amount of development cross
the planners' desks.
JOHN NORMAN, Vice-Chairman