MP Ben Gummer’s suggestion that the borough should consider buying land at the Waterfront by selling the Portman Road stadium to Ipswich Town has provoked a mixed reaction.

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The Star has called for the derelict buildings between Stoke Bridge and The Mill – including the former Pauls malting silo, and Burton’s factory overlooking the wet dock – to be demolished and the area cleared. It has suggested that the borough should use compulsory purchase orders if necessary.

That call was backed by Mr Gummer who said that the borough could sell some of the land it already owns in the town to fund the purchase, including the Portman Road stadium.

Football fans have today issued their concerns about the proposal, claiming that if the council sold the freehold to Portman Road, Ipswich Town may not necessarily remain in the town centre would be lost.

Labour councillor and Town season ticket-holder Alasdair Ross said: “I don’t question Marcus Evans’ commitment to the club – but the fact remains that if the council sold the freehold of the ground it would loosen its control over what happens there in the future.

“It could be that at some time in the long term someone could come in and seek to redevelop the area and move the club to a new stadium at Copdock or Trimley or somewhere like that.”

Comments on The Star’s website – www.ipswichstar.co.uk – were split down the middle between those who felt the ground should be sold to finance the Waterfront purchase and those who felt it should be retained by the council.

Jason Pilbury said: “No way should Portman Road be sold to fix the councils mess up on the waterfront! Use there bonuses the fix it and spend the money on the town centre rather than on the failing waterfront.”

However, another reader added: “As for selling Portman Road - why not? And why stop there - sell Ipswich Buses as well. Quit thinking that you are an old style corporation and waken up to smell the coffee Ipswich Borough!”

Across the country several clubs’ grounds are owned by their local councils – although the majority are owned by the clubs themselves.

Among the clubs who are tenants of their local authority are Swansea City (Liberty Stadium), Hull City (KC Stadium), Middlesbrough (Riverside Stadium), and Coventry City (Ricoh Arena).

n Should the council consider selling Portman Road to finance other land purchases? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk

13 comments

  • To be honest if you really want to get rid of the town centre then ideally get rid of the football ground as every other Saturday nobody would be there. This is shock tactics by Mr Geater who really does not weigh up arguements. I think ITFC have at least a 90 year lease on the ground so can you see IBC stumping up £30 million for a new ground for the sake of a couple of million in their coffers. c'mon think about it!!!

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    Matt Nicholls

    Thursday, March 14, 2013

  • I think the development of the waterfrontdock area has been misjudged. Even as empty buildings the area had loads of character - now it looks like any other urbandockland development: very bland and uninteresting. Ipswich is throwing the baby out with the bathwater....

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    Baron Samedi

    Thursday, March 14, 2013

  • I would back moving the football stadium full stop. On match days the traffic getting into town and the parking is a nightmare. If they moved it out of the town center they could provide more parking (for which they could charge) and ease the congestion around the town.

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    If you ask me...

    Tuesday, March 12, 2013

  • Astonished that the borough owned the freehold of ITFC in the first place. Unlike Ipswich Buses, which is a highly prized public service which should be kept in the council's hands, the stadium of the football club is, despite its contribution to the local economy, culture and wellbeing(!) of the town not really best left in the hands of the council. Why shouldn't ITFC buy their own ground?

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    IpswichExile

    Tuesday, March 12, 2013

  • While IBC holds the freehold of Portman Rd it receives a regular income from ITFC although the football club remains free to relocate if it chooses. Should the town councilsell the site to Marcus Evans the club may have more of a finacial incentive to realise a quick profit and move on. Whose interest is Mr Gummer working for?

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    amsterdam81

    Tuesday, March 12, 2013

  • THEY SHOULD HAVE SOLD THE FOOTBALL STADIUM WHEN THE CLUB WAS IN ITS HEY DAY ,, TODAY ITS IN THE CESSPITS ,, BUT I AGREE WITH MR MANNING , MAKE THE OWNERS DO SOMETHING WITH THE BUILDINGS OR THE COUNCIL SHOULD BY LAW BE ABLE TO COMPULSORY PURCHASE THEM AT A LOW PRICE THUS BENEFITING THE PEOPLE OF IPSWICH ,, AFTER ALL ITS US WHO HAVE TO LOOK AT THIS MESS EVERY DAY

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    MIGUEL100

    Tuesday, March 12, 2013

  • Ipswich is a cesspit. I would bulldoze the waterfront and put a waitrose there to bring some class to the area

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    the opinion man

    Tuesday, March 12, 2013

  • Regular income? That's only if the football club decided to pay! - how much do they owe in backdated rent?

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    Fat Lady Sings

    Thursday, March 14, 2013

  • Sell Portman Road - why not? and why stop there - sell Ipswich Buses as well. Quit thinking that you are an old style corporation and waken up to smell the coffee Ipswich Borough!! There again, why should the Borough pay for the foul ups of property developers either? Let's be honest folks, Ipswich? The county town of a curious county... and it shows, no matter which road you drive in on.

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    Citizen

    Tuesday, March 12, 2013

  • Ben Gummer and his cronies love the free market and the private sector, and why not, as when theymess up and collapse (like the banks) they loot the public sector to bail them out! Why should Ipswich Coicil Tax payers be made to pay for a private company's mis management again?

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    england1770

    Tuesday, March 12, 2013

  • LEAVE PORTMAN ROAD ALONE AND MAKE THE OWNERS OF THESE SCRUFFY BUILDINGS DO THEM UP OR PULL THEM DOWN.

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    TERENCE MANNING

    Tuesday, March 12, 2013

  • Funny how Mr Gummer calls for intervention in the "free market" when it gives him a chance to bash the Council isn't it. One issue not mentioned here is that the ownership of the sites isn't clear - and it can take YEARS to compulsorily purchase land of unknown ownership.

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    tgtround

    Tuesday, March 12, 2013

  • However it's financed it's about time something was done about this (one of many) unsightly blots on the landscape. My issue with the authorities is why is every piece of land considered prime for high rise buildings? Traffic is already horrendous in the area due mainly to the WaterfrontSuffolk college build over the years & as far as I am aware that built is not fully occupied. Is it to radical an idea to turn some if not all of that land into a green space? Oh hang on no, the council won't be able to rake in council & business rate taxes. Silly me for thinking such an idea.

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    Chris D

    Tuesday, March 12, 2013

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

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