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