Ipswich Central to continue working to improve town centre
- Credit: Charlotte Bond/Simply C Photography
Ipswich Central have vowed to invest in better CCTV for the town centre and forge ahead with their connected towns scheme after their BID agreement was renewed.
Businesses and occupiers in the town centre were asked to vote on whether Ipswich Central should continue running the Business Improvement District (BID) project and the result showed overwhelming support for the organisation.
In total, 69% of businesses voted and of those, 90% gave their support for Ipswich Central to continue with the BID, and work on their connected town concept, over the next five years.
In their five year plan entitled 'People, Place, Purpose' Ipswich Central pledged to invest in CCTV and a provide a further street ranger for the town centre.
They also plan to celebrate the 550th anniversary of Cardinal Wolsey's birth in Ipswich and set up a new gift card and loyalty scheme for the town centre, with £10,000 to be spent on independent businesses.
Penny Damant, who owns independent cafe and craft shop Penikkity Pots, welcomed news safety would be improved.
She said: "We have had mindless vandalism at the shop previously and though my neighbour had CCTV, the street rangers didn't turn up to look at it. We need better access to them.
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"I do know they help with anti-social behaviour and street drinkers, and the rangers are often first on the scene before the police."
She added: "Ipswich Central needs to make the town feel a safe place to be in."
Mrs Damant is a big fan of the plans to celebrate the history of the town, she said: "We have some fantastic history with Cardinal Wolsey being born here and Charles Dickens having visited – Ipswich has an amazing heritage and some beautiful a parks."
Describing independent businesses in Ipswich as a "community" Mrs Damnat says the coming five years are a key time describing it as "do or die" for the town.
She said: "Everyone has had a rough trading time, I'm still here and I am proud of that.
"Being part of Ipswich is not just being part of the economy – it is being part of the community”
Mrs Damant added: “Recently I visited the SPILL festival and went down to the PYRE parade and saw the instillation in front of the town hall and the GAIA exhibition.
“There was a projection on the Town Hall for remembrance and I thought Ipswich looked like a fab place to live, and it made me feel proud."
Terry Baxter, Chairman of Ipswich Central, said: "The response to the ballot has been completely overwhelming.
"The turnout (69% of all votes) is extraordinary and is a record against all UK BIDs this year.
Mr Baxter added: "This ballot has not involved just shops, restaurants and offices, we have engaged with every sector of the town centre community including education, medical, veterinary, faith, sport, charity, arts and culture.
"They have given us the clearest possible mandate - not just to manage the Connected Town area, but to lead and process of change within it.
"I want to thank them for their support and assure them that work starts immediately."