The Whisstocks Project (Saving the Woodbridge waterfront) has been established by the Woodbridge Riverside Trust to focus exclusively on bringing the old Whisstocks boatyard site in Suffolk into community ownership.
It follows many years of work by concerned members of the Woodbridge community, especially Woodbridge and Melton Riverside Action Group (WAMRAG) and the Town and District Councils,
to find a lasting and proper use for this publicly important site.
The Woodbridge Riverside Trust and Whisstocks Project are trying to gain a vibrant community space that would regenerate the riverside creating a special place for Woodbridge and providing new links between the Town Museum, the Tide Mill, the river and Sutton Hoo. The current plans will enable the use of the public space and the riverfront for the community. The boatshed, with its mezzanine, will also provide a unique opportunity to build a full-size replica of the Sutton Hoo Ship.
About the Whisstocks Project
In 2011 the aim was to acquire the Whisstocks site for the community from the owner who was trying to sell the site. In mid-December 2012 an agreement was reached and an agent would be appointed to represent the interests in the Whisstocks and Nunns Mill sites.
- To secure long term enjoyment of the area's maritime history and riverside
- To provide opportunities for education, training and maritime skills development for everyone
- To keep Woodbridge's waterfront an attractive and interesting destination
- To forge maritime heritage links between Woodbrdge, Sutton Hoo, the UK and beyond
- To construct a full-scale replica of the Sutton Hoo Anglo-Saxon burial ship
The Whisstocks development is well underway and, with it, the construction of the 32 metre 'Longshed' which will be at the heart of the community-owned space, bringing boat building back to the Whisstocks site once again.
The Longshed has been specifically designed to accommodate the full size long ship reconstruction, but will also house a wide range of educational and fun projects. Have a look at our website to see what the Longshed will be and what it will offer. Or peer through the hoardings at Tide Mill Way: its skeleton steelwork is already up.
As well as the Longshed, there will be a new home for Woodbridge Museum (again, the outline of this building is already visible), a restaurant, some commerical units, an outdoor community space and apartments.
Raising funds to fit out the Longshed is our main priority - so that we can turn it into a functioning workshop and activities space as soon as we take on the lease next summer. With generous donations from individuals, two local Trusts and some corporate sponsors we have achieved just over a quarter of the £70k needed. This takes us a long way towards achieving the matched funding for an application to the Landfill Trust - a fund for community projects run by landfill operators. In the meantime we are looking for more local support from community organisations, businesses and Woodbridge people.
For further details, see Woodbridge Riverside Trust: Who We Are
April 2018 - The Longshed
The once derelict site of the old Whisstocks Boatyard has been undergoing a transformation and is approaching completion. The team is fitting out the Longshed, a purpose built community resource comprising a boatbuilding workshop and mezzanine gallery. The Longshed will be home to a range of creative projects that people can take part in, or simply watch progress. They want to secure real long term benefits through opportunities to find out about our outstanding maritime heritage and riverside environment, through learning, training, developing skills and, most of all, enjoyment.
From a ‘bust-up’ to the tiptop – five-and-a-half year Whisstocks boatyard vision hits peak in Woodbridge
9th May 2017
A journey which began in 2013 as a vision to redevelop a derelict Woodbridge boatyard reached its pinnacle as developers revealed a riverside panorama from the project’s highest point.
‘Common sense and compromise’ were attributes echoing round the Deben Wharf site – part of the £13m regeneration of Whisstocks boatyard and Nunn’s Mill factory.
It all started with a ‘bust-up’ between FW Properties and the Woodbridge Riverside Trust (WRT), which formed the Whisstocks Project to ensure work would benefit the community.
Differences were settled, first over a pint of Adnams and then long negotiations, resulting in more than half of the riverside site destined for community use.
It had been hoped the project would be complete by summer, but delays put back the date for completion to later in the season.
Addressing the ‘topping out’ ceremony with contractors RG Carter, financiers Investec, and members of WRT and the town council, FW Properties founder Julian Wells admitted that, at times, the journey had felt longer than five-and-a-half years.
“We faced a number of planning, construction and delivery issues,” he said.
“It hasn’t been easy, but we aimed to reflect the industrial and boat-building heritage of this site, and I think what is being built will do that aspiration justice.
“A bust-up with WRT outside the council offices led to an agreement that we would aim for some community ownership. We now estimate more than half the site will be in the hands of the town council and community.”
Six of 15 apartments are under offer, with one of three commercial units to be occupied by an unnamed local firm, and two suitors interested in The Chandlery restaurant. A boatshed will house construction of a replica Saxon ship, next to a new home for Woodbridge Museum – all protected by an 80ft floodgate.
Nearby Nunn’s Mill includes town houses, apartments and ground floor commercial space.
Woodbridge’s new mayor Clare Perkins directed “all credit it was possible to give” to Riverside ward councillor Kay Yule, who said she had followed in the footsteps of late Whisstocks committee chairman, Charles Notcutt.
She added: “We started with a vision and, as a group, we came to have trust in one another that we had the same goal. It could only be reached with ability to use common sense and compromise.”
Source: Ipswich Star, 9th May 2017
All news items are taken from the Whisstocks Project Team updates.