Neglected corner of Ipswich car park to be transformed into theatre space

An artist's impression of the Westgate Theatre Square An artist's impression of the Westgate Theatre Square
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A neglected area of car park outside the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich is to be transformed into a public square that will host outdoor performances.

Ipswich Borough Council has given the go-ahead for the Westgate Theatre Square, which will be situated directly in front of the New Wolsey and is intended to celebrate the theatre as a cultural hub.

The design includes an outdoor cafe and a flexible space that can be used for performances and events.

Designed by Waind Gohil Architects and landscape architects Area, it will be created to allow for the construction of sets, and seating configurations will be able to be adapted depending on the performance.

New Wolsey chief executive Sarah Holmes said the designs laid out a “high quality and exciting development plan” for the area.

“It is creating not only a great new public space but will also in time regenerate the whole of the site around us,” she added.

The plans have been approved by Ipswich Borough Council’s planning and development committee, and work is expected to begin shortly with the full square completed by the summer of 2016.

A report prepared for the committee said the refurbished area, which is being funded by the site’s new owners Charterhouse Investments LLP, will “improve the setting and likely patronage of the theatre”.

It added that the development would provide “much-needed investment” in Ipswich’s cultural quarter.

Carole Jones, the council’s planning and development portfolio holder, said: “This is a very welcome move as it creates an exciting new public space next to the New Wolsey Theatre. It will certainly improve the area and help to attract more people.”