1. ITV Report

Waterfront development makes town a contender for economic boost

For six years this concrete skeleton of a building has been a sign of recession.

It dominates the skyline in many of the routes into Ipswich and as you approach the Waterfront it's not the only derelict building you see.

The building known as the wine rack Credit: ITV News Anglia

The financial crisis in 2008 brought building work along the waterfront to a standstill.

Developers went into administration and it's only now that those buildings are coming out of receivership and into the hands of new owners."

One of them is John Howard. He and his business partner have purchased the so called 'wine rack' and hope to start building work in the next six months.

"We've done a lot of flats over the years and it was almost too tempting not to not have the challenge of what will be an iconic building in Ipswich. At the moment we've got plans in with the council and everyone is working to make it happen. We're very keen to use as many local businesses on the project as we can"

– John Howard, Property developer

While one end of the waterfront appears to be thriving, at the opposite end the Borough Council believes it needs to step in to create an impressive entrance to the area, with private flats and an open public space.

Work could start by the end of next year, with plans to open up a route straight into the town centre.

The building and land Ipswich borough council wants to buy to create an impressive entrance to the waterfront Credit: ITV News Anglia

"Our assessment is that unless the council gets involved it won't stack up for any developer so the site could stay empty for years to come so what we're looking to do is negotiate with the developers, buy the site and then develop them. If we can't come to a negotiated sale with the developers then we will look to compulsory purchase them."

– Cllr David Ellesmere, Leader of Ipswich Borough Council
Artist impressions of Tower Ramparts Shopping Centre Credit: Tower Ramparts

The town centre is also seeing investment.

Tower Ramparts is to have a £4 million makeover next year and a new name- Sailmakers- reflecting plans to develop Ipswich as a waterfront town centre.

Sailmakers Shopping Centre Credit: Tower Ramparts

With building projects already underway on the other side of the water, it's hoped it won't be long before other developers are attracted to the town.