Businesses to have their say on the future of Ipswich town centre
- Credit: EDRM/ Ipswich Central
The aim or redesigning the heart of Ipswich over the next five years could take a big leap forward before the end of the year - if town centre businesses give it their blessing in a crucial vote.
Ipswich Central is seeking business backing for a new five-year term to run from April 2022 to 2027 - but the vote is really seen as a business referendum on the proposal to re-imagine the area as a "connected town".
The group sees the "Connected Town" concept as being vital for the future of Ipswich in a post-pandemic world where the traditional draw of town centres as retail hubs is no longer so important.
For that reason Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement said the vote on renewing the group's contract to run a Business Improvement District (BID) in the town centre would give members a say in how things progressed.
He said: "This is about far more than just carrying on with what we have been doing promoting the town and bringing in street rangers to make people and businesses feel safer.
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"This is giving our members a say in the Connected Town proposals - which would bring more people to live in the town centre and bring in the kind of services to support people living and working here."
The "Connected Town" aims to provide all the services needed by people within a 15-minute walk from the town centre - and it would also see new developments to make the area more attractive.
The BID area would be extended - going down Norwich Road as far as the Bramford Road Junction and including Christchurch Park and Suffolk New College.
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And under the "People, Places, Purpose" label Ipswich Central is highlighting some of the specific proposals looking to transform the town - including outdoor restaurants in Lloyds Avenue, a new Ipswich art installation that could be moved around the town and promoting more events in the town centre.
Ipswich Central Chair Terry Baxter said: "Our vision is for a different kind of place - home to thousands of people and assuming a wholly different purpose."
Businesses in the heart of the town should receive Ipswich Central's prospectus for the next five years on Thursday, October 14, and have until the end of November to vote on whether to accept the new term. The result should be known in December, and start next April.
What changes could we see in Ipswich town centre?
More events on the Cornhill to bring a focus on the traditional town centre.
Town Fund support should improve the Stoke Bridge entrance to the Waterfront - including a viewing gallery at the site where the town was founded.
New Green Spaces should be created linking the traditional town centre with the Waterfront by the Ipswich Oasis group.
The Ipswich Letters - bringing a sense of identity to the town for both residents and visitors - they're likely to start at the Waterfront but move around the town.
Creating a Digital Ipswich with booking facilities, free wi-fi and visitor trails.