More changes to Ipswich town centre as shops prepare for ‘Super Saturday’
- Credit: Archant
Outside seating areas and further cycling provision will be introduced into Ipswich town centre as the second phase of its reopening after the coronavirus lockdown begins on “Super Saturday”.
This weekend will see bars, restaurants, pubs and hairdressers open to the public for the first time since the end of March, with Ipswich Central using the occasion to kick-start its latest phase of reopening the town.
Its work will see outdoor seating clusters created around Ipswich where businesses can share spaces, allowing shoppers to sit in social distancing arrangements along the street.
Its plans are also backed up by the government, which is currently passing legislation which will make it easier for local authorities to grant permission for businesses who want to use outside space.
Ipswich Central Levy payers, will be able to have their applications paid for and cafe are barriers being produced to make it obvious where seating is.
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Ipswich Central is also working with the county council to create 120 bike spaces at four separate locations around the town.
Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central, said: “The emphasis that we have applied right the way through, and we are going to continue to apply, is not about encouraging large numbers of people to come back into the town centre what we are basically saying is it will be a different style of town centre, with some modifications made in units and outside units but our priority is to communicate and reassure customers that it is a safe place to be.
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“That, we believe, has and is working and therefore we are able to look now as government policy relaxes the next stage, which allows our bars and our restaurants and our cafes to reopen and we look forward to those to starting on Saturday but then more will open over then week or 10 days I expect.
“So far we are confident, it’s been hard for businesses but we are faring well and the public is showing a desire to come back in again.
“As that reopens alongside the leisure sector, then we will take another step forwards and we are going to do it very safely.”
Mr Clement added that surveys locally and nationally showed that the public is willing to head back into town centres.
A survey taken on June 15, as non-essential shops reopened in Ipswich, showed that 9,248 went to the town, up 44% on the previous week - around 68% of the pre-lockdown numbers.
There are also early signs to show that customer spending is returning quicker than was forecasted.
Ipswich Central is now asking for feedback from the public and businesses regarding where the bike spaces will be.
Those with suggestions should e-mail here.