Top politician Jonathan Ashworth sees new business area in Ipswich
06:47 09 February 2016
Shadow cabinet minister Jonathan Ashworth has visited Ipswich to see the town’s growing business area – and the new home of Archant’s Suffolk titles.
Jonathan Ashworth is in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet – he does not have any formal portfolio but is responsible for co-ordinating between the party at Westminster and local councils.
He visited Ipswich to see what a Labour authority was doing to boost business and regeneration in the town.
During his visit to the town he visited the Princes Street area to see the new Connexions business centre that is rapidly taking shape and the Portman House building which will be the new home to Archant, publisher of the EADT and Ipswich Star, from later in the year.
He was shown the area by Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere who explained how the borough had not only promoted the development of the business area, but had also bought and sold sites to allow projects to be built.
Mr Ashworth worked in Ipswich for the Labour Party during the 2001 by-election, and said he could see a major improvement in the town.
He said: “I am here to support David Ellesmere and the council in their tremendous work in the town. Compared with what I remember from 2001, there has been a great deal of new development and a whole new look for business in the town.” The borough sold the former Fisons building to developer Malcolm Hobbs who is turning it into the Connexions business centre.
Work is continuing on site – and should be completed by the spring.
Mr Hobbs said: “We have had a great deal of interest in the site and about 60% of the space is being considered by possible tenants although in this business they like to see what it looks like before making the final commitment.
“Once the outside walls and cladding is complete I am very confident there will be even more interest in the space we are creating here.”
The borough has bought the former Hollywood nightclub which will find a new use.
Mr Ashworth welcomed the fact that Archant is bringing new life to the Portman House building: “That is a good sign of confidence in the town,” he added.