Excitement in the evening – or not!

Sitting watching TV last night around 9 o’clock and the building fire alarm went off! This means, for most people, tramping down the stairs and meeting out on the podium.

We are registered with the Fire Service as needing evacuation because my mother-in-law and me, outside of the apartment, are both wheelchair bound and cannot make the stairs.

We have had this before so I have a routine. I call 999 and ask for Fire. I then tell them our address. I always forget that they are a centralised operation and are in Huntingdon so I never tell them Ipswich. They always have to ask. They told me that a crew was on its way. I then checked our status to make sure that the crew coming knew about us to be told that they were aware. So far so good.

Leaving it 15 minutes or so, I then call back, again to check the status as the alarm hasn’t stopped. I was told that it was a “false alarm” and the crew were on their way back to base. It appears that someones dinner got a bit smoky causing the alarm to trip. When I told them that the alarm was still going, they had to check if it had stopped and started, which would imply something not right, or was it continuing, which it was.

We dropped the call and then they called back 5 minutes later to tell me that the key holder was on his way and would be there in around 10 minutes – which was what happened and the alarm was silenced.

I thought that I got brilliant service from the Fire “Brigade”. They went that extra mile for me which I didn’t expect. Anyway, 9.50pm and it was all over. Another evening in paradise.

An interesting plan for the Island

There has been much talk around about the council getting funding for a pedestrian/cycle bridge over to the Island from Helena Road (front of Anglo-Nordern). It appears that they have got the bulk of the funding for this with a little way to go. For details check out the Ipswich Star.

This week, it got more interesting with an announcement by ABP (Associated British Ports) that, in conduction with Legal and General Modular Homes, they are going to build a housing complex on the Island. This is planned to be built on the undeveloped part and thus have little or no impact on the existing companies (Fairline and Spirit Yachts).

They had a consultation in the Customs House on Thursday this week for anyone interested to visit and ask questions. Mind you, it was only made know on Wednesday so not much notice was given. I rolled around to find that it was on the first floor. I was a little daunted when faced with two large flights of stone stairs up the front of the building but a kind soul from ABP took me round the back where there was a compact (! i.e. small) lift to take me up. It needed some manoeuvring but I got there. There was a room with presentations set up around with ample staff to talk and take views. It always seems that people look over the top of me when I try and join in but a few pointed words got me into the conversation. This is the main display – all the others were just details of existing buildings etc.

It seems that the small areas to the west of the middle access road, which have a few large vessels undergoing repair and refurbishment will be lost but the rest of the Marina estate will stay pretty much as it is now. However, the scruffy car park at the entrance to the Island will be swallowed up (1 2 and 3 on the map above) and become:

  1. Site access from St. Peter’s Dock (what I know as St. Peter’s Wharf which is where the old Paul Building is)
  2. Marina Access and new public realm/public open space
  3. Marina Parking

There will then be two apartment blocks with the rest being 2 & 3 storey town houses. At the other end where the dilapidated “Lock Keeper’s Cottages” are with be redeveloped as a new public open space with the cottages set within.

There will be an access lane 3m wide/ 2 way cycleway along the New Cut to join with the new bridge.

I don’t live on the Island – the residents live on their boats – so this doesn’t affect me except that it will give me greater scope for exploring as I could now get, not just onto the marina side of the Island but also to the New Cut side. However, for those who do live there, there was some quite long discussions mostly about traffic and parking. Concerns were laid about access from the Stoke Bridge area as this would increase the traffic and also there were fairly large concerns about impact on current parking. It appears if you live on a boat then driving away for any reason creates issues similar to around my current apartment block on Patteson Road. Once you give up a road parking slot it is hard to get one back when you return. However, I have the luxury(!) of an allocated underground slot whilst this is not available to residents of the marina. I also pointed out that, in spite of their concerns about traffic density, the current Orwell estate is larger than that planned and we don’t suffer any traffic issues due to the ebb and flow of delivery vans/bin lorries etc. as was discussed here on Thursday.

It goers to planning in a few months time so watch this space. Personally, anything that tidies up the mess that is the current Island is a good thing – but then I don’t live there – I just take photos.


Here is the Index to the map above. Sorry for the quality but they didn’t have any real handout, only a short blurb, so this is the best that I could do.

A busy Waterfront

I popped out to go to the Pharmacy but realised that my wheelchair battery was quite run after my day at “Ally Pally” yesterday so I came back to sort it out. In the meantime, I realised that there was a lot to see so when I came out with a fully charged wheelchair, I brought my Olympus camera with me. I have much more control with that and it has a proper optical zoom lens.

On my way out, I met Ian from Anchor Street. It seems that the choice of contractor for Anchor Street still has not been decided. Quite why they don’t just use Carters I can’t image as they now have the experience to do a good job. Anyway, it seems that they are to sort out the ceiling voids in Anchor Street before doing the cladding and we will get that sorted after we are free. So this is going to go on for a good length of time. There is a meeting next week so I should have more concrete information after that.

Anyway, we are suffering a dreadful noise for most of each day as they are fitting little angle supports throughout the concrete walls of the block. In fact, I can now see that they are doing a similar job on University Avenue. Here is our fittings. This is on the east wall where the wooden planks were fitted, above the Podium Door.

and this is one wall down in University Avenue.

Anyway, back to the Waterfront itself. Being a WWII buff and having visited Pearl Harbour in Hawaii I have referred before to the waterfront looking like “Battleship Alley”. It’s not anyway near as dangerous but we do have a line of vessels today. First off are two of the offshore support vessels.

Then we have another regular visitor – the Border Force cutter – HMS Seeker.

It is a very grey day so a vessel in “battleship grey” doesn’t stand out too well.

Here is a closeup of the stern of Seeker – she has a small – inflatable – craft inside her stern with a dropdown door to launch it.

Lastly, we have our old friend Suntis in for unloading. Now she is back alongside Anglo-Nordern it isn’t quite so traumatic to the residents and walkers so her visits are less invasive.

The road that is closed is Helena Road so the road along the front of Capstan House and the Aurora is still open, thank goodness. Anyway here is a shot of the unloading.

Lastly, some news about “Song of the Whale” that was last seen in the Bahamas. Well, she is now moored at the Wood Hole Oceanographic Institute which is off the coast of Massachusetts near to Cape Cod.

This information is provided from MarineTraffic.com©

Do I smell gas?

No, actually but I have been talking to the gas engineers working on a large hole outside the Aurora. There is the usual gaggle of vans and barriers.

There has been work going on for a couple of weeks now but because of the cladding wrap it is difficult for me to keep up with it. Mind you, the cold weather hasn’t helped! I was out and about yesterday so took the chance to have a chat with them. We were all standing (well, me sitting of course) around this big hole in the ground.

So, this is what I have been told. There is a gas leak (!) on the corner of Patteson Road but the scaffolding is right on top of it. As you can see, there is a very large gas pipe coming across the front of the Aurora from Capstan House. They thought that they just had to put one of their robots in. This would scurry down the pipe spraying sealant as it goes – job done. Unfortunately, there was a problem. Can you see this little 2″ (50mm) pipe sticking up?

Well, this is actually the end of a pipe that goes down through the large pipe and connected elsewhere. This meant that the robot couldn’t get down there. They tried going further down but there is a similar pipe near to the corner of the road. Deadlock. They are thinking about it. As you may know, the site on which Orwell Quay complex is built is the site of the old Gas Works so this large pipe is one of the main feeds (I think).

As a little aside; they ran the robot the other way and did a precautionary spray along without any issues. All I can say is, watch this space. I will give more when I know more. I have to say that they are very relaxed about all this so I don’t think that there are any issues to worry us.

I have acquired a map of the waterfront that lists all the traditional wars and quay names so I will publish that in a future post. On last bothering thought. A comment was made that they can’t get under the scaffolding until it comes down in- wait for it – October. I hope that this is wrong. My last update was June/July do I need to talk to Carters to find out more.

Wind and bridges

It has been extremely windy around the waterfront today. Here is a note from Carters. “

Just so you are aware, there will be nobody working on the scaffold today due to the high winds.

Normal works should commence tomorrow once the scaffold has been thoroughly checked.

Many thanks”

I haven’t been out so no pictures. Not that I can photograph the wind!

Of more interest is this from the Ipswich Star – “New £7 million bridge set for the town’s Waterfront”. It seems that the new “Price Phillip” bridge is to be build across the lock and make possible a circular route around the Wet Dock and across the Island. I am not sure how this is going to work so I will keep my eye out for more details as the article is a bit short of details. If it ever comes to pass, it might give me a chance to photograph down into the port – something that I haven’t been able to do since we moved from the west side of the block to where we are now.

A cold day to be out

It’s 41f -5c out there but it felt much colder. I was out to see what has changed. Unfortunately, there was no-one around to ask any questions.

First off, they are digging up at the exit to the Aurora carpark. They have done this before and it was all to do with the waste from the complex of flats but, as there was no-one there, I can’t get a handle on it. Anyway, it is a big hole exposing some impressive pipework.

The wrapping of 7 Anchor Street looks to be complete.

It also looks as though they have finished on Capstan House. At least there was no-one around when I went through – no scaffolders and no Carters safety man.

Just outside the Podium door there is a pile of what looks like discarded polystyrene. I assume that this has come out from the building but until I can find someone to ask I won’t know for sure. Watch this space.

That’s all for now.