THE organisation representing small businesses in Suffolk has launched a furious broadside at local politicians who they accuse of killing the independent sector.

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In a hard-hitting letter to Ipswich Borough Council chief executive Russell Williams, the Federation of Small Businesses:

Hits out at strategy planning decisions that have allowed new out of town centres to be created.

Warns that roadworks are driving visitors away and calls for them to be suspended until February.

Demands council-run car parks cut their prices to attract more visitors – including park and ride.

And does more to promote independent businesses.

In the letter FSB Suffolk chairman Chris Soule says: “The FSB are looking to the borough council to urgently and immediately bring forward support for small business.

“Business closures are likely to increase unless the situation is not addressed immediately and the public brought on board in time to support local shops over Christmas and the New Year.”

Many of the issues addressed are not the direct responsibility of the borough – the roadworks are part of the Travel Ipswich programme which is being promoted by the county council with £21million financial support from the Department for Transport.

Its two largest schemes – converting the Princes Street/Civic Drive roundabout into a traffic-light junction and work at Fonnereau Road – are due to ease substantially after the end of this week.

Portman Road is due to reopen this week and major work is due to resume in mid-January.

A spokeswoman for the county council said: “Officers are confident that the roadworks are not causing increases in delay. Traffic is flowing freely around Princes Street/Civic Drive.

“We recognise that traffic can be very heavy in the town centre on the run up to Christmas and so we are taking extra steps to help people – for example by clearing the works in the peak period to provide some more capacity and monitoring traffic conditions in the off peak.”

Ipswich Central is responsible for promoting businesses in the heart of the town, and its chief executive Paul Clement said he understood some of the concerns from the FSB.

He added: “Most of the issues are not directly for the borough – if they feel we need to promote the town more then that is for Ipswich Central to look at.

“We agree that more cheap parking is needed, but the borough doesn’t actually run many car parks now and those it does run are cheaper than they were last year.

“There are actually fewer empty premises now than there were a year ago. The occupancy rate has gone up by one per cent over the last year but I am aware that many businesses are finding things tough.”

He said Ipswich Central was helping to promote more events such as markets in The Saints – St Peter’s Street and St Nicholas Street – and would be holding a major market in Blackfriars, the Fore Street area, on December 9.

Ipswich councillor responsible for economic development Carole Jones said the borough was working hard to make the town as attractive as possible for shoppers.

She said: “Our car parks are cheaper than they were a year ago and we have worked with Ipswich Central to make the town centre an attractive place to visit.”

n Are the town’s organisations doing enough to attract visitors to Ipswich? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or you can send an e-mail to starletters@archant.co.uk

12 comments

  • I feel really sorry for the struggling independent sector in Ipswich and agree that who ever is responsible for roadworks, parking etc etc should be bending over backwards to help these traders. When the Crown Street carpark closed suddenly just before one Christmas, I was amongst those who advocated more leniency in street parking and reduced car parking charges not only to get the local economy going but to show to the outside world and big retailers that Ipswich was the place to be with forward, proactive leaders. What happened, nothing! Since that time the centre of Ipswich has been suffering a long and painful decline. It just is not the place to be as a retailer nor customer. The article mentions a Christmas market. I like 100,000 others had a great time in Bury St Edmunds last weekend where there were over 300 stalls. Will the proposed Ipswich market match this, I doubt it. Bury is a fantastic example of a town that supports the independent sector, it is reported that the weekend brought in huge spending, good for them. I regret having to say but the 'furious broadside' will fall on deaf ears almost as if someone somewhere does not want success in Ipswich as believe you me as we head into a new year it isn't getting any better.

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    how'd the town do

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

  • I welcome the privateers businesses in Ipswich in fact it is really encouraging to see. However they really must take the bull by the horns and get on with it. When you see the coca cola lorry coming into town yesterday and all the shops closed, nowhere to eat, hotdog stalls removed, burger king ran out of burger rolls, the town was absolutely heaving. Come on guys, you had the opportunity and missed it. How embarassing, only the big boys remained open, Boots, Debenhams etc. If you want the trade then take it when its available.

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    Johnsons

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

  • 1) Too many chiefs and not enough Indians 2) you do not cut front line services that are there to protect the public, whether that is administering emergency non emergency medical treatment, catching burglars, car thieves and protecting the public, putting out fires and saving lives. You can set all the targets in the world and work your staff to the bone with very limited resources and something will give ( level of service)

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    equalibrium

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

  • @Richard proctor - more pound shops like lush, waitrose and patisserie Valorie you mean?

    Report this comment

    Scott Brock

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

  • well you will not see a lot of people, seller, buyers , or what ever I am sure they will not come to see the load of BALLS on the Cornhill

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    Reggie

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

  • What an arrogant man Paul Clements is, more shops open than last year, yes betting shops, charity shops, £1 shops, about time you earned your wages, parking and traffic problems in Ipswich is worse than any other town and city in east anglia.

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    richard procter

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

  • @planeman - your comment only makes you look bad. What a bitter and miserable person you must be

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    Scott Brock

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

  • how'd the town do is spot on. Why don't the arrogant "head in the sand" officials simply take a drive to Bury St Edmunds, knock on St Edmundsbury Council's door, and simply say, "Your little town is miles etter than our Pound shop dominated town where you have to step over the street drinkers and drug addicts, negotiate the never ending blocked roads, and pay extortionate car parking charges. What is it you do here that we can do in Ipswich?" Very simple! Listen to what they say in Bury St Edmunds and try an emulate even 25% of what they do here in Ipswich, and this town centre may start to improve. If Car Parking, the range of shops and the anti car policy continues in Ipswich, then simply people should follow my lead, and go to Bury St Edmunds for a much much more enjoable day than can ever be spent in Ipswich as it is at the moment. If the officials don't listen to what people think, then they will continue to have the town centre their apathy deserves.

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    england1770

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • it not Perfick no hard ware in town like Martin and Newby was

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    Reggie

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

  • Well having worked in Ipswich for 25 years i can say that the reason the roadworks haven't caused too much of a problem is that people are not coming to ipswich . The traffic in the town has reduced alot in the last 23 months , the IBC has to ask themselves serious questions. Why don't they listen ?

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    Poppys Dad

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

  • I just wonder how long it will be before Scott ' The Ostrich' Brock will be writing in to tell us that all the folk making these comments are totally wrong and that this is another perfect example of how Ipswich is such a wonderful thriving place to live in and that every other town should be following it's example!

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    planeman

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

  • Re: Scott 'the ostrich with his head in the sand 'Brock, What did I tell you!

    Report this comment

    planeman

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

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