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If top Woodbridge Tory did call Ipswich a ‘cesspit’, it’s an insult – and worrying

PUBLISHED: 05:30 11 January 2019 | UPDATED: 08:41 11 January 2019

Suffolk Coastal councillor Geoff Holdcroft    Picture: RAY LEWIS

Suffolk Coastal councillor Geoff Holdcroft Picture: RAY LEWIS

Archant

At least we didn’t need a lip-reader in this case – it was very clear what deputy leader of Suffolk Coastal District Council, Geoff Holdcroft, said.

The Woodbridge councillor told a meeting discussing the authority’s housing strategy that if there weren’t enough new homes built, people would have to move to “that cesspit down the road” and drive back to the district to work.

When we contacted Mr Holdcroft, he said he was “not referring to any one place”.

While he didn’t name a town, you can make your own mind up over whether he was referring to Ipswich.

The only conclusion we can reach is that he probably was. Mr Holdcroft denies this, though has apologised if anyone thinks that was the case.

More: Was politician’s ‘cesspit down the road’ jibe aimed at Ipswich?

It’s fine and fair to acknowledge the fact that, like most places, Ipswich has its challenges. Though there are many people working hard to tackle these and improve the town.

But what would not be ok is for a highly influential politician from a neighbouring authority to describe Ipswich as a “cesspit”. That would be an insult to everyone who lives in the town and calls it home.

And it would be wrong. Despite its challenges, Ipswich is a terrific place – with its wonderful parks, waterfront, heritage, arts and culture.

More worryingly, it would suggest a sneering attitude towards the county town.

We would expect the likes of SCDC and Ipswich Borough Council to work together for a better Suffolk. A stronger Ipswich means a more successful county.

We hope this is not Mr Holdcroft’s view of the town. He is a widely respected politician and former mayor. We are glad he has accepted an invitation to be taken on a tour.

But comments like this are ill-advised, wrong and divisive.

The public simply wants politicians to work together for the common good. Not this.

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