New campaign aims to bring fresh powers to Ipswich
A group of Ipswich-based business leaders are trying to persuade the Government to use the current debate over devolution to prompt the creation of a new Greater Ipswich authority – giving the south-east of Suffolk much more power over its own future.
They believe that the town’s growth has been held back by its tight, Victorian borders and feel if the whole area stretching from Claydon in the west to Felixstowe and Shotley in the east was seen as a single economic entity, it would be able to attract much more investment.
The group is lead by businessman Mark Ling, who led the successful campaign which seems set to see the rebirth of the town’s Broomhill Pool, and Assis Carreiro, who was the founding chief executive of the Jerwood Dance Centre on the Ipswich Waterfront.
They want Greater Ipswich to have unitary council powers in the area – but Mr Ling accepted this may have to exist under a regional strategic authority under the Government’s devolution proposals.
He said: “Greater Ipswich is the economic powerhouse of Suffolk and that is going to continue – but to really be able to take advantage of its position it needs to be allowed to make its own decisions.”
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Ms Carreiro added: “There’s a huge opportunity right now. Devolution is coming and although nobody knows quite how it will be structured, there seems to be real encouragement to be ambitious. ”
Ipswich MP Ben Gummer welcomed the enthusiasm of the group to promote the area – but said he was concentrating on bringing tangible benefits to the town.
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He said: “It is good that people are looking at the future of the town and the democratic structures – but my priority is working on projects that are bringing concrete results, which we are seeing with the Ipswich Vision.”