The law firm Birketts have become sufficiently well established to commission a new five storey office block in Princes Street. This is a development that will, once occupied, add credence to the ‘business quarter’ that is rapidly developing between the railway station and the town centre.
Increasing the available space for their desks has allowed the company to grow. Birketts are moving out of the former town houses in Museum Street, and a number of rented offices elsewhere in Ipswich. Some of these offices spaces were very cramped; some were in immediate need of renovation and some basic repair (put off because of the forthcoming move) and being in the town centre lacked parking spaces.
It was Birketts’ original intention that they would occupy perhaps two-thirds of the new building and ‘let’ the rest to a different (complementary) organisation. Things haven’t worked out like that; Birketts has grown and when they move in they will occupy almost all of the building, certainly sufficient that there won’t be a joint occupier.
Today Birketts have 165 partners and some 650 staff.
A further interest to the Society is the possible proposal by the Borough Council to build a multi-storey car park behind the Drum & Monkey, formerly the Sporting Farmer public house, in Princes Street. This development would provide essential car parking spaces for the rapidly developing offices in the Princes Street corridor.
However, it is likely that the proposed car park will attract two or three hundred cars every day: cars that will arrive predominantly in the morning rush hour along the already crowded Crane Hill, Norwich Road and the other arterial routes into Ipswich. And the availability of a car parking space will reduce the attractiveness of the alternative Park & Ride service.
Each car will bring congestion, pollution and frustration. I wonder which of the alternative forms of transport are being promoted at a similar level of expenditure?