The pictures above show No 4 College Street, taken in 1890 & 2014. This building dates back to 1590 making it one of the oldest surviving buildings in our town.
For much of its’ history the building was occupied by generations of the Aldred family, merchants who made their fortune transporting goods from Ipswich docks.
The building has sadly been empty since the early 1980’s and was severely damaged by fire leaving it one of only 5 buildings in Ipswich on the Councils ‘at risk register’.
Since 2016 it has been owned by IBC as it was purchased as part of the larger site fronting onto St. Peter’s Wharf on the waterfront.
With its location at the entrance to the waterfront there is unlimited potential for this historic building and Conservative Councillors are trying to make this happen. The whole site at St. Peters Wharf is now owned by the Council; a masterplan is being worked on for the site to transform the area from its current run-down state.
In October the Labour group announced plans to spend a staggering £423,000 of tax-payers money on renovating the building into office space, something we are not short of in Ipswich. In their plans they revealed that it was highly unlikely the project would ever pay for itself. The Conservative group questioned this and asked the following;
Would it not be sensible to wait for the masterplan of the whole site to be completed before committing to spending such a large amount of tax-payers money?
Why are tax-payers funding development of office space with no hope of a financial return?
If we are to spend tax-payers money shouldn’t we offer the people of Ipswich something in return?
Not surprisingly these questions were overlooked and the decision was voted through by Labour Councillors so the decision was taken to use our rightful power to ‘call-in‘ the decision.
This has now been put on hold and will be further discussed at a meeting of the Councils Overview & Scrutiny Committee – giving us one last chance to secure a more positive future for a jewel in Ipswich’s crown.
We think it would make an excellent Visitor Centre, highlighting the history of the waterfront through the ages and there are many other ideas – what do you think?
Cllr Ian Fisher
Leader Conservative Group @ IBC