Better paving and lighting needed to make area `customer friendly’

Wet and dangerous, the approach to the Waterfront from Stoke Bridge

Wet and dangerous, the approach to the Waterfront from Stoke Bridge - Credit: Archant

Urgent action is needed to make Ipswich Waterfront approach safer

Greg Morgan, owner of the Waterfront Bar and Bistro

Greg Morgan, owner of the Waterfront Bar and Bistro - Credit: Archant

Waterfront business owners say it is time for action to make the approach to the area, from Stoke Bridge, more friendly and welcoming for visitors.

They say the area can be difficult for pedestrians to use at night.

There is no footpath, until you get to the Jerwood Dancehouse building, and little in the way of lighting to make visitors feel safer.

And this comes at an exciting time when private owners themselves are investing in new developments in the area.

In fact a grant of £50,000 has recently been made for a feasibility study to find a long term solution for the “gateway to the Waterfront”, or the Stoke Bridge approach.

Pedestrians have to skip around parked cars, and avoid moving traffic and large puddles to get from Stoke Bridge to the start of the paved footpath area.

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Lynn Turner, of the Cake and Catwalk boutique, said: “The council has got plans for the area, which is very good. But something has got to be done to make it safer now.

“This is the gateway to the Waterfront and the first thing many people see when they get here.

“We have been promised something would be done for three years.

Greg Morgan, owner of the Waterfront Bar and Bistro, said: “The area needs to keep improving and developing and it could do with better street lighting.

“This is an area used by people of all ages, coming to the restaurants and everything.

“There are a lot of businesses down here now, attracting people.”

It had been a good year at the Waterfront, with the arrival of more restaurants boosting the area, he added.

“The more places there are for people to eat, the more it becomes a destination. Competition is good for everybody, because people like variety.”

Deborah Hayden, owner of the Anytime Fitness gym, echoed his call for better lighting.

“We are a 24-hour a day business so it is important to have better lighting in the area,” she said. “It is important to have investment in making the area better.

“People like Terry Baxter (Ipswich Central chairman) have a great vision for developing the Waterfront, to attract businesses and people. It is important for other people, and the councils, to support him.”

David Ellesmere, Ipswich Borough Council leader, said the county council was working on adopting the car park, formally a road, as a highway.

“The main thing that’s going to get it sorted out is for it to be completed redeveloped,” he said.

“The borough council is working hard with the owners of the site and the site next to it to get some development going.

“The road is a separate issue, and the county council is working on adopting the road which will mean it would be resurfaced and have proper lights in place.”