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Ipswich: Deputy PM’s radical bid to return town to its heyday

09:28 29 October 2012

Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg

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Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg today outlined an ambitious move to kickstart Ipswich’s economy and return the town to its “heyday”.

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Mr Clegg made the bold claim in an exclusive interview with the Ipswich Star in which he announced Ipswich Borough Council would be given the chance to take on budgets and powers only previously wielded from Westminster.

Under the “city deals” scheme introduced by the coalition, ministers have promised to hand councils central government powers and the budgets that go with them, if local authorities show they can use them to regenerate their economy.

Mr Clegg said: “This could be a return to the heyday of Ipswich when the town leaders would not have to go on bended knee to Whitehall to beg for help from politicians and officials.”

So far only the eight largest cities outside London have been granted a city deal and all have taken control of the skills training and apprenticeships agenda to varying degrees.

Mr Clegg said: “In January I struck these deals with eight of the biggest cities, it was pretty radical, the biggest devolution of powers outside London.

“The aim of doing it is to boost the areas that have had problems with public sector cuts and, because of the lack of money in Whitehall, to make sure that local authorities have the freedom to stand on their own two feet.

“What I’m going to be announcing today is wave two, and I’ll be publishing a list of 20 regions including Ipswich, all of which will be entitled to put forward their own ideas about what kind of city (or town) they want.”

A city deal for Ipswich could conceivably see it bidding for money to upgrade the town centre to attract business or taking control of transport budgets relating to roads and rail.

Speaking at last month’s Beacon Ipswich conference, retail guru Sir Stuart Rose outlined what he saw as major problems the town had with its image.

He said: “The railway station would not be out of place in Siberia! It is a depressing station that you want to get out of – and there is nothing to say ‘Welcome to Ipswich’”. He then described the Cornhill as “the most depressing place”.

Responding to today’s announcement from Mr Clegg, Ipswich Borough Council deputy leader Neil Macdonald said: “The selection of Ipswich in the next wave of towns and cities shows the importance of our regional position and economic influence. Inward investment and the creation of new industry and jobs is a key priority of this council.

“Ipswich enjoys many advantages, both geographical and commercial – excellent transport links and a centre both for high-tech research and the financial services sector – and we want to build on those strengths to provide more opportunities for investment.”

The Ipswich Star launched the I Love Ipswich campaign to celebrate all that is good about Ipswich and highlight the positive steps that are being made to boost the town.

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8 comments

  • Mr Glegg dont give a free range to Ipswich council with our money it is not your money but the tax payers money, Ipswich council have had many chances over the last 50 years and failed every time to regenerate the town so why trust them again is it Votes for you sorry for being cynical. £600.000 on Giles Square was a waste of money now more of this type of waste awaits us, at least the council have regenerated themselves first with new posh offices!

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    a west

    Monday, October 29, 2012

  • Interesting how views differ. Where I am in Suffolk, we look more towards Norwich than Ipswich. I therefore know the former better. However, I don't think that there's too much wrong with Ipswich Station, nor with Cornhill. What has gone wrong with Ipswich is the same as Norwich and other places i.e. a saga of neglect and ill-considered demolition the old and decent buildings which gave it character, to be replaced by hideous modern structures and yet more car-centric roads and car parks (at the expense of top quality public transport). I don't think that "retail gurus" are always best-qualified to comment, either.

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    T Doff

    Monday, October 29, 2012

  • Has anybody been foolish enough to take anything Clegg says seriously since he gave up even any pretence of having principles or telling the truth?

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    beerlover

    Monday, October 29, 2012

  • Well said dale craven ,

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    richard procter

    Monday, October 29, 2012

  • Give more power to Ipswich Borough Council - you are joking arent you? Part of the reason this town is in the mess it is in is because of the inept management and the constant squandering and diversion of funds from areas which deserve cash injections. The only people that will benefit from this move will be the council and those industries that help them generate reports on how to spend money.

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    dale craven

    Monday, October 29, 2012

  • A west - Giles sq is lovely and Ipswich needs more places like it. Most of that money came from the heven gateway parntership not direct from the council. i do think people don't realise how little 600k gets you. Or were you thinking you could repave all the street in Ipswich with gold with that money Uk martian - Norwich doesn't have empty shops?? are you kidding? In fact it has a higher pecentage of empty shops than Ipswich. It just has more variety! It also helps that Norwich is far enough from london and the capital of East Anglia. Totally agree about the airport! dale craven - more power will bring more leaders, and more leadership. A lot of Ipswich's problems are caused by the relationship with Suffolk County council, the confusing split of services and the fact that SCC don't represent Ipswich at all, favouring the hinterland and Bury over the county town. Ipswich needs its own power

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    Scott Brock

    Monday, October 29, 2012

  • Firstly,Perhaps they will bring back industry into the town..When I left school we had the likes of Celestion,Bull motors,Harris's Churchmans, Ransomes, Cranes,Cranfields Compair,Burtons to name but a few ..These employed thousands of people when we had them ...what do we have now insurance companies fast food shops and charity shops not forgetting dozens of empty shops.. last week I went to Norwich..I saw a real market , I visited the Chapplefields and Castle Mall's, OK I know Ipswich isn't the same size as Norwich, but whilst looking at what they have got over Ipswich I did notice 2 things they HAVEN'T got ..Empty shops....and Extortionate car parking Fees... one other thing Norwich has got that Ipswich once had and against all the protests and advice the council bulldozed it, that is a AIRPORT...I wonder how important it could be now if it was developed rather than demolished....Ipswich decided in investing in housing , but did not think about where all the new people would be employed ...

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    ukmartian

    Monday, October 29, 2012

  • The new proposals would give Ipswich the option to spend the money it gets from tax receipts on infrastructure projects, transport and job training budgets. Given most infrastructure bids and tranport are currently controlled by the lame SCC (not sayin IBC are much better but at least they pretent to have Ipswich's interest's at heart) it would be great news for Ipswich.

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    Scott Brock

    Monday, October 29, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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