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Loungers UK confirmed to take over derelict Ipswich Burtons building in St Peter’s Wharf

A lounge restaurant and bar will take over a derelict warehouse in Ipswich as regeneration of its waterfront reaches a ‘significant milestone’.

Ipswich Borough Council has revealed it will lease the former Burtons building in St Peter’s Wharf to Loungers UK, who have committed to a significant refurbishment of the building which has lain derelict for years.

A lounge is a café or bar that combines elements of coffee shops, pubs and dining and is designed to offer a relaxing, warm and comfortable atmosphere.

Loungers UK will take over the Burton Son and Sanders warehouse in Ipswich.
Loungers UK will take over the Burton Son and Sanders warehouse in Ipswich.

Cllr Neil MacDonald, the leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said this was the first phase of the authority’s plans to regenerate the waterfront, alongside plans to convert Paul’s Silo into a climbing and activity centre.

In addition, Gemma Irwin, Lounger’s general manager, hoped the lounge would welcome customers next year.

This news comes after Loungers UK submitted plans to Ipswich Borough Council last week, seeking to turn the former confectionary warehouse into a bar and restaurant.

Neil MacDonald, the leader of IBC. Picture: IBC
Neil MacDonald, the leader of IBC. Picture: IBC

As many as 30 new staff, ranging from managers to front-of-house, will be employed and trained.

The Burtons building dates back more than 100 years.

Work to clear the inside began in March, which made it safe to renovate.

Cllr MacDonald said the building was a historic part of the town’s maritime past – and retaining its industrial look on the outside was paramount.

He added: “The lounge continues the redevelopment of Ipswich Waterfront, making St Peter’s Wharf a welcoming entrance to Ipswich Waterfront, which is a key part of our commitment to regenerating Ipswich into a vibrant destination for eating, drinking, education, and entertainment.

“We’re pleased to be taking steps forward to ensuring it remains a prominent feature in the area for generations ahead to enjoy.

“Its development into a restaurant makes it another fantastic addition to the area, giving further choice and high-quality dining to residents and visitors to Ipswich.”

Loungers UK is already at work renovating the inside of the warehouse.

It is perhaps best known for managing Cosy Club restaurants.

The Ipswich chain is in the Buttermarket Shopping Centre.

Ms Irwin said: “We’re so looking forward to opening our Lounge next year. We hope our family-friendly environment and top-notch food and drink offering will prove popular with local residents.

“We’re passionate about integrating genuinely into the communities we serve so we’re looking forward to meeting everyone and to playing our part at the heart of Ipswich’s food and drink scene.

“Anyone looking for a space to host events or groups should pop in once we’re open, we’d love to hear from them and see what we can do to help.”

Ipswich’s waterfront is currently embroiled in a debate which people fear could lead to it disappearing.

Bertholders at Neptune Marina are concerned new owners ABP would move the 400 boats moored there.

Thousands supported a petition to ‘save Ipswich’s waterfront’ over fears it could leave the waterfront vacant.

Kevin Bentley, a spokesman for Save Ipswich Waterfront, was concerned what effect this could have on businesses in the area.

He said: “Ipswich suffers in many areas, including the town centre struggling.

“We worry what effect moving the boats would have, as many business owners enjoy having the quay outside and could cause a loss in visitors.

“Removing the boats would have no benefit to the waterfront, businesses, residents and the town as a whole.”

Back in July, Paul Ager, the divisional port manager for ABP, said the firm had no intentions of getting rid of Neptune Marina.

He noted the firm planned to make significant investments into the area.