Building of the Month January 2022: The Tolly Cobbold, Cliff Quay, Cliff Road, Ipswich, Suffolk
The Tolly Cobbold name and the building itself are distinctive and much-valued parts of Ipswich's history. The brewery was built in 1896 to designs of architect William Bradford, who was known as a brewery architect. The dramatic hip-roofed building is listed grade II and uses a tower design, typical of the time, to accommodate the various processes involved in brewing.
The Tolly Cobbold is located on the dock and is surrounded by the working port. The site also includes two other listed buildings, a pub and cottage. The main brewery building itself has been vacant for twenty years, since the brewery closed. It is in poor condition and has suffered sustained vandalism and theft that has seen the systematic removal of all brewing equipment. In February 2020, a large fire affected the upper floors of the brewery building. It is thought that the fire was started deliberately.
Outline planning permission was granted in 2015 for the development of the site for retail use including the complete repair and refurbishment of the brewery as well as a large food store, small scale retail units, conference space and residential units. Fuller permission was sought the following year for 222 apartments, an auditorium/exhibition space and accomodation for Ipswich's Transport Museum.
Now the council is in contact with the owners regarding urgent works, particularly to the more accessible house and cottage, and this includes the possible use of enforcement action using Section 54 powers.