Town to defy economic gloom

NATIONALLY all the talk may be of doom and gloom - but Ipswich can approach 2009 with an air of optimism as more than £275 million of investment is coming to town.

Neil Puffett

NATIONALLY all the talk may be of doom and gloom - but Ipswich can approach 2009 with an air of optimism as more than £275 million of investment is coming to town.

Despite fears of an impending recession and concerns unemployment could rise, a number of key projects in Ipswich are moving forward.

James Hehir, chief executive of the borough council, said the signs are good for the town.


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“Normally this time of year is quite quiet for anybody so to get these positive messages on a number of major developments is a good sign.

“We are obviously going to be affected like the rest of the UK but at the moment it is better here than nearly all other places that I know of. We just need to keep that moving.

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“It's going to be tough in the New Year but hopefully if we can ride it a bit longer we can keep going with it.”

Mr Hehir added that the council is focused on doing everything it can to help developers press ahead with projects.

“The role we play is very hands on,” he said. “We spend a lot of time talking to developers in Ipswich.

“I do a lot of it myself to make sure we stay in touch with companies and see if we can help them. We are only too happy to talk to anybody who has concerns or plans and help them move on.”

Richard Atkins, responsible for economic development at the council, said it is clear Ipswich faces challenging times but believes growth over the past few years makes the town an attractive and exciting prospect for cautious investors.

“We are not going to be immune from what's happening nationally and globally but nevertheless Ipswich remains an important area for growth and development as we arte seeing,” he said.

“I like to think it means we will come through this pretty tough spell for the country probably better than average.

“There really is a lot happening in Ipswich and it is becoming a more attractive place.

“The addition of the university has added to the level of excitement about the town.

“It will encourage more youngsters in Ipswich to go to university and possibly stay in the area once they have finished which would see the average wage for the town go up.”

Suffolk University Campus Suffolk phase II in Duke Street - construction commenced (£50 million)

Suffolk New College under construction (£75million) opening in September 2009.

SWISS 6th Form Centre Project (£50million+) under construction opening September 2010.

Westgate centre £50million - received planning consent

Tarmac operation relocation from Island site to Cliff Quay - under construction.

Salthouse Harbour Hotel extension - under construction.

Mediterranean Shipping Company opened new high class facility (250 staff capacity).

Glasswells, Ranelagh Road, furniture store - open.

New pedestrian bridge for Fairview development, Ranelagh Road. Will be opened in New Year.

New flood gates being installed at Ipswich Waterfront lock gate entrance. Also funding in place for flood defence system - £50million

Arlingtons Restaurant opened in Museum Street.

Tesco Express to open in St Matthews Street. Tesco has also bought the old B&Q site in Grafton Way.

Continued development of Ipswich Waterfront with the Regatta Quay and Mill developments nearing completion.

Asda developing new store on Stoke Park.

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