Developer: Braceforce Group
Price: £75 Million
St Peter’s Port, ‘a new heartbeat for Ipswich‘, the project meant to complete the waterfront redevelopment and put Ipswich on the map. The £75 million mixed-use development would have seen the erection of 3 hotels, 1289m2 retail/restaurant, 8342m2 offices, car parking (420 spaces) together with conversion, renovation and change of use of No. 1-5 College street to a bar/restaurant. Located in between the one-way system, the proposal would have created a safe retail thoroughfare between St Peter’s Church and the now named Quay place, creating an entrance to the waterfront.
Designed by Piers Gough himself, founder of CZWG Architects, the development was designed as a new icon to rival Norman Foster’s Willis building. Gough said he had been heavily influenced by the Foster building, and believed his designs for the £75 million St Peter’s Port development would create a “terrific visual linkage between the city centre and the port”. Gough also said “You can’t get away from such an iconic building,” talking on the design for St Peter’s Port he added, “We picked up on the hardness of the local flint. We wanted to create a contrast by using undulating green glass around the building, which has a slippery quality and evokes the colour of the water. It is a reaction to the mysterious dark quality of Foster’s building.”
The development received a large amount of press coverage and had interest by a number of well established companies, these included:
- Tesco Express on the ground floor
- Accor, Europe’s largest hotel group, 165 room Etap hotel
- 112 room Premier Inn
- At the time of the planning application, negotiations are also at an advanced stage with other major catering, leisure and boutique hotel organisations
Planning application was submitted in 2005, however, the proposals were brought to a halt when Suffolk County Council announced plans for a multi million pound archaeological dig on the St Peter’s Port site. Furthermore, problems with the market meant the original application was eventually withdrawn.
A planning application was submitted in 2007, with no changes from the original design, and it was subsequently accepted in 2008. However, the development struggled to get off the ground, not only had the recession hit, in 2009, central government opted to scrutinise the decision. It was eventually decided in December 2009 that the application did not need to be “called in” but formal permission since then had been delayed while final details are ironed out between planners and the developers. The development never broke ground, despite the developers being optimistic of construction to start by the end of 2010. Furthermore, Tesco seemingly dropped out of the proposal having submitted their own proposal for a mixed-use development on Grafton Way in 2008. Despite this, the proposal is still listed on the developers website, however, it is almost certainly a foregone conclusion that this optimistic development will never be built.
St Peter’s Port promised to put Ipswich on the map, link the town to the waterfront and complete the regeneration of the area as well as being a new architectural landmark to rival the Willis building. However, it struggled to get of the ground having been met with problem after problem. Perhaps it was just too ambitious for the time.
Images: CZWG Architects