INVITATIONS to the second Beacon Town conference have been sent out to most of those who took part in the first event – but there is still time to register your interest if you want to join us next month.

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The second conference takes place at the Corn Exchange on Friday, September 14 and will be an opportunity to hear one of the country’s top retailers – and to help draw up a plan which could give the town a multi-million pound boost.

The conference is being sponsored by The Star, Ipswich Council, and the town’s MP Ben Gummer.

The keynote speaker will be former Marks and Spencer chief Sir Stuart Rose who has a home in Suffolk and is regular visitor to Ipswich.

He has been carrying out a number of “undercover” visits to the town to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the central area, and will be reporting these to the meeting.

After his address the conference will look at the town’s bid for a £24million government grant that is available for the “Future City” which will be named early next year.

The funding will be given to a town or city that can show how it would use it as a catalyst to turn itself into a high-technology beacon for other communities.

Ipswich’s location – with BT at Martlesham on its doorstep and its proximity to the hi-tech hub of Cambridge – give it a real opportunity to claim the funding.

Delegates will be urged to come up with ideas to go into the bid submission which will have to be presented to the government by September.

The conference will be held from 1.30pm until about 4.30pm on 14 September at the Corn Exchange.

It is also being promoted as part of the county council’s Business Month which is running throughout September.

Anyone interested in getting a ticket is asked to contact the borough by e-mail at beacon.ipswich@ipswich.gov.uk

The Ipswich Star is helping spread the I Love Ipswich message across the town and beyond. What are your hopes from the Beacon Conference? E-mail: starletters@archant.co.uk.

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