Readers have their say on Ipswich/Bury debate

Bury town centre on market day. Abbeygate Street.

Bury town centre on market day. Abbeygate Street. - Credit: Archant

Our report on the contrasting fortunes of Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds shopping centres provoked a massive response from our readers.

More than 100 comments were added to the web story – and many more were posted to our Facebook page.

The vast majority of comments were well-considered and provoked a healthy debate.

Many people clearly still use Ipswich town centre, and while there are aspects of it that frustrate them, overall they want to see it improved.

The traffic around Ipswich is a major issue for some who responded.

Comments by Mark Cordell, chief executive of ourburystedmunds, which promotes the west Suffolk town, that Travel Ipswich has been good for his town have been backed up by many. Some people say they find Ipswich more difficult to access than it has been in the past.

A theme that runs through many of those who have commented is the idea that there is a clear vision for the development of Bury St Edmunds which has resulted in the construction of an attractive shopping centre which is well served by car parks.

Most Read

This links directly into the historic shopping area of the town – and a splendid market two days a week – with an attractive road leading down to the Abbey Gardens and Cathedral.

All are easily accessed from the heart of the town centre.

Ipswich town centre does have links to the Waterfront and Christchurch Park – but many of those who commented clearly do not feel there is an easy, cohesive town centre.

Our features on the town centres – and especially the issue of the borough and county councils not appearing to always be pulling in the same direction – have prompted responses with both authorities pledging to work hard to improve the town centre.

However, last night Mark Bee, leader of Suffolk County Council, said: “Direct comparisons are meaningless. We should celebrate Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds as towns in their own right. They each have a rich history and culture and support the economy of the county. They offer different things and complement each other. ”

Councillor Carole Jones, economic development portfolio-holder for Ipswich Borough Council, added: “We do hear what people are saying and there is both good and bad here in these website responses.

“I love Ipswich and I live and shop here and I wish that Ipswich people would get behind their county town. It is pointless to compare Ipswich with Bury – they are very different places.”