Orwell Quay (2009)

Status: Withdrawn
Type: Hotel/leisure/office/residential/retail
Year: 2009
Developer: London Provincial And Overseas Limited
Price: £35 million

Following the 2005 proposal, submitted by the same developer, a resigned proposal was submitted in 2009. This stunning redesign would have see the erection of three spectacular buildings incorporating the following:
– 90 bed hotel
– 200 apartments (36×1 bed, 156x 2 bed, 8x 3 bed)
– 2,111sqm. health club
– 1,000sqm of office space
– 2,947sqm of retail and restaurants/cafes
– 313 – 364 car parking spaces
– 247 cycle parking spaces
– 102 motor cycle parking spaces

Orwell Quay. 2009 proposal

The statement on the design, taken from the committee report.

On the Duke Street frontage the hotel (reception, restaurant, function, and conference facilities) and a health club are accommodated in 4-storey blocks with cylindrical and curved plan forms and roof gardens above. The main entrances to these facilities are from Duke Street. These blocks are surmounted by the slender, facetted, 13-storey tower which accommodates the hotel rooms.

Double height retail units (A1 – shops or A3 – restaurants and cafes) front the development at street and podium levels thus providing active frontages at both levels. Access to the retail units, hotel, and residential blocks can be gained from both levels. An office space is allocated as a base for a community police officer if required.

Car parking is accommodated at basement level on two floors (protected from flooding by a raised threshold) whilst the surface level service deck for the development sits below the raised podium. Both the car park and service deck are accessed direct from Duke Street avoiding the necessity for vehicle penetration to other parts of the site (other than for emergency vehicles).

The two residential towers have curved, almost oval plan forms, with side elevations
predominantly faced in profiled metal cladding, with projecting elements of glazed curtain walling, whilst the ends of the blocks are predominantly glazed. The apex of the shapes facing the dock almost appear as the prow of a ship. The blocks are aligned in parallel within the site allowing views through the site. All apartments are provided with a balcony of some form.

The hotel tower has a different shape in the form of a facetted cog making a subtle reference to the industrial origins of the site. Extensive use of metal cladding and large areas of glazed curtain walling characterise the design to give a very contemporary feel to the architecture. The plinth of the building is either glazed or stone faced.

The buildings will be designed to achieve a BREEAM Very Good rating (for the
commercial space) and Code for Sustainable Homes (Level 3) for the residential units. 10% of the developments energy requirements will be generated on-site from renewable or lowcarbon sources. A biomass combined heat and power plant (CHP) is being considered and rainwater harvesting will be employed where feasible.


However, shortly after the application was submitted, the developer London Provincial And Overseas Limited went into administration. The proposal remained active, and the developers attempted to sell the development on, however, with the stalled Regatta Quay development (winerack) so prominent on the horizon and the dire economic landscape of the time, the project was seen as risky and not economically viable by many developers, resulting in the application being withdrawn in 2011.


Despite legitimate concerns about scale, height etc, the design would have been a stunning addition to the waterfront as well as being a welcome change in the typical boring, lacklustre attempts in modern architecture seen all too often in Ipswich. Though this development would have had a negative impact on the adjacent Neptune Marina, this proposal like many collapsed as a result of the economic crash a few years prior. As of 2017, the site remains a temporary car park and is awaiting development.

Images: KDP Architects

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