At last the borough is leading over regeneration of Ipswich
- Credit: Su Anderson
I almost feel like running a lap of honour around the Ipswich inner ring road! There is finally a firm plan to get rid of the concrete monstrosity with an octopus scrawled on the side at the entrance to the Waterfront.
At last we are going to get something happening there – so it will be possible to walk from the town centre to the town’s greatest asset without going through a wasteland.
I’m well aware that there are those in Ipswich who see the Waterfront as something of a White Elephant that’s not for the likes of them and they would just like the town centre to go back to what it was in 1975
However the fact is we’re in the 21st Century and a reborn Waterfront is the key to the town’s revival – it’s the unique selling point that this town has to attract visitors and their money.
Once the borough has cleared the grotty silo and improved the site – and even more so when it has fully redeveloped that area – it should become a vital bridge between the town centre and the Waterfront.
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And that is good for the whole of Suffolk, not just those of us who live and work in Ipswich.
I do have criticisms about the deal. Why didn’t the council do this years ago? Why has it taken years of inertia caused by the deepest recession most of us can remember to prod them into action?
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But while it would have been good to have seen work starting on this in 2008 or 2009 rather than in 2014, it would be wrong to chide the current administration for the failings of its predecessors who came from different paries.
I don’t know if it’s the approaching general election or the fact that I’ve been banging on about it in this column for too long, but at last we’re beginning to see the Labour-run borough taking a pro-active role in the economic management of the town.
It has bought the old Crown Court building alongside the old police station that it was obliged to re-purchase as part of a 1970s deal.
And it is promoting the sale of its land in Princes Street to allow law firm Birketts to build a new headquarters.
Until now most of the borough’s land deals seem to have been concentrated on building new council homes, which is admirable in itself – but cannot exist as the be all and end all of its ambition.
Thank heavens it is now indicating that the economic health of the commercial sector of the town is also important – and it redeveloping the entrance to the Waterfront there is the ability to achieve both commercial and social success.
An attractive development at its entrance with shops and restaurants underneath flats with a reasonable open space is just what that part of the town needs.
I just hope it doesn’t take too long before the borough gets that ghastly silo demolished and clears the site – and starts to take action to get the whole area redeveloped as a showpiece for the town.