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Why do Suffolk people dislike Ipswich so much, or give it second chance?

PUBLISHED: 05:30 12 January 2019

Mr Holdcroft has come under fire from many who point out Ipswich's attractions  like Christchurch Park opening on to Ipswich School. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Mr Holdcroft has come under fire from many who point out Ipswich's attractions like Christchurch Park opening on to Ipswich School. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Archant

Irritation is growing over the reports that Suffolk Coastal’s deputy leader Geoff Holdcroft appeared to describe Ipswich as a “cesspit” during a heated planning meeting earlier this month.

New investment has seen fountains installed on Ipswich Cornhill.    Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNNew investment has seen fountains installed on Ipswich Cornhill. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

But there is also growing concern that his comments reflect a general feeling among people living in rural Suffolk – including local politicians.

It’s been said that a few years ago Suffolk Coastal councillors in private meetings described the county town in even less flattering language – using words that we could not countenance publishing!

This all suggests that for all the millions spent on improving Ipswich – the continuing regeneration of the Waterfront, the rebirth of the Cornhill, the Lottery funds spent on restoring some of the finest parks in the country, many of those living outside the town are not prepared to turn their back on their prejudices about their county town.

Why is this? Why are rural residents look down their noses on Ipswich? Why do senior politicians think it is clever to insult Suffolk’s county town in a public meeting that is being filmed? Why do some people in Suffolk seem to think it is a badge of honour that they haven’t been to Ipswich for years?

Go over the border to Norfolk and people there seem genuinely proud of Norwich. In Essex you don’t hear many complaints about Chelmsford (except from one or two prominent citizens in Colchester who feel their town should be running the county).

What is it about Ipswich that makes people in Suffolk dislike it so much – and apparently makes them unable to even want to give it a second chance despite the millions of pounds invested in it over recent years?

Ipswich does have problems – like all urban centres. There are also problems with crime, drugs, and anti-social behaviour in smaller towns and even in the countryside.

The average resident or visitor to the town is no more at risk than they would be anywhere else in the county. Someone going shopping, visiting the theatre or cinema, or having a meal out at one of the town’s many restaurants should be able to have a great time.

So why are so many people so prejudiced against Suffolk’s county town – and why do politicians from other towns think it is so clever to insult Ipswich?

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