Despite the current economic climate, work continues on most of the
Waterfront projects. Fluorescent yellow jackets can be seen on the
Cranfield's Mill (Laing O'Rourke) site, on Voyage Ranelagh Road
(Fairview) and fitting out the commercial units within Regatta Quay.
Committed developments currently waiting a start date include the
St Peter's Port (between St Peter's and St Mary at Quay churches) has planning permission for three hotels, an office block and ground floor retail, but there has to be an archaeological investigation before any work can start. Braceforce are negotiating the extent of this dig, and re-evaluating the three storeys of basement car parking previously considered. Public car parking on this site is considered essential to the successful operation of Dance East.
Cranfield's Mill. The shell of Dance East is complete and fit-out should
have started by the time you read this. There will be three dance
studios and an auditorium, cafe and offices for the regional dance
centre. Completion is due mid-autumn 2009. Cranfield's two associated
sites on the north side of Key Street, the western and eastern triangles
(the western triangle was Allied Mills garage, the eastern their lorry
wash facility) are both to become student accommodation. Wharfside
Regeneration are proposing 400 units over 8 storeys, an increase on the
size of the permission granted for the hotel and social housing schemes
on these two sites. Flood evacuation will be by footbridge over the
inter-connecting link road.
BOCM Paul's offices in a scheme submitted as "47 Key Street" refers to a
major development between Salthouse Street, Key Street, Slade Street and
the back of the Listed property in Fore Street. The scheme surrounds the
Jewish Cemetery which will be retained and enhanced. It comprises 200
residential units, some in a 12 storey tower, 1500 sq ft of retail at
ground floor, and improvements to the Johns & Slater 1930s office
building curving into Key Street. This scheme includes a multi-storey
car park for public use (which will be essential if the retail element
in this location is to be successful).
Island House (Premier Pool Club) is on the small parcel of land bounded
by John Street and Wykes Bishop Street (off Duke Street). This scheme by
architects Wincer Kievenaar has planning permission for 185 student
rooms but almost no parking (three drop-off spaces). We understand the
site is now for sale with the benefit of planning permission. This has
probably been driven by the fact that on the University site immediately
to the north developers have gained permission for some 400 student
Orwell Quay, the area previously known as Shed 7. University Campus
Suffolk have divided this extensive plot into three. On the Duke Street
frontage, student accommodation has planning permission, as noted above.
This includes operational car parking for 100 vehicles - not for the
students but for the commercial units fronting the street and for the
academic building on the quayside. On the Waterfront (northern portion
of the site) UCS have applied for permission for this Phase 2 academic
building, some 15,000 sq m of accommodation. (For comparison, the
existing UCS building is 10,000 sq m.) On the southern Waterfront
portion of the site, nothing is currently proposed and we expect the
temporary car parking to continue.
Shed 8 is the major space, currently a car park, immediately south of
Neptune Marina apartments. London Provincial and Overseas have had
planning permission refused on three occasions but continue to push for
the right combination of hotels, apartments and commercial outlets.
Their recent schemes included raising the ground floor on to a podium to
avoid the flood risk, effectively placing the retail units at first
floor level (not adjacent to people perambulating along the water's
edge) and creating car parking spaces below.
It has now been twenty years since the first of the Waterfront
apartments was occupied. There has been endless debate and promise but
nothing has changed to the road system. Buses still don't use the
gyratory system and the advice I received from the Borough Engineer on
the opening of Star Lane 25 years ago is still pertinent - "Cyclists
should find an alternative route".