2024 is the year to get things right for Ipswich – but we need to be more aggressive in going after what we want for our town, an Ipswich Central boss has said.

Just one month into the new year, Ipswich has already seen several changes. January saw the opening of Inflata Nation in Cardinal Park, as well as the announcement that a new Turkish restaurant will soon be opening in the area.

Amid speculation that the former Toys R Us store in Copdock could soon become a Marks & Spencer, discussions were had about what would become of the Westgate store in the town centre.

Meanwhile, we brought you the news that Poundland in the Sailmakers shopping centre will not be closing its doors after all, and that the former Wilko building will soon be occupied by Poundstretcher.

Ipswich Star: Sophie Alexander-Parker is the Chief Officer of Ipswich Central. Image: Cherry Beesley / Simply C PhotographySophie Alexander-Parker is the Chief Officer of Ipswich Central. Image: Cherry Beesley / Simply C Photography (Image: Cherry Beesley / Simply C Photography)

Sophie Alexander-Parker is chief officer of Ipswich Central.

“I think 2024 will be an interesting year for Ipswich, and it is a year to get things right for this town,” she said.

So far, she feels there is much to look forward to: a £2.3million project is underway to digitalise the town centre, which will include everything from Wi-Fi to augmented reality trails, showing what Ipswich looked like in years gone by, and what it will look like in the future. A new ‘Cardinal Route’ has been created between Lloyds Avenue and Stoke Bridge, hoping to foster a real connection between the Waterfront and the rest of Ipswich.

Further funding has also been secured to fill vacant shops, with the town having secured £8million in funding through the Department of Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities Town Fund.

However, some people have raised concerns about Poundland and the new Poundstretcher being located so close together.

Ms Alexander-Parker said that while she welcomes the fact that the Wilko building will no longer be empty, going forward, there needs to be more consideration of the placement of units opening in the town centre.

“We need to understand where we want this town to go,” she said. “We need to understand what an inward investment plan or strategy looks like, and then we need to be aggressive in going out and getting what we want for this town.