Ipswich: Travel scheme work really needs to be completed

Paul Clement, chief executive, Ipswich Central

Paul Clement, chief executive, Ipswich Central - Credit: Archant

Town topics with Ipswich Central

New traffic light system is up and running on Civic Drive, Ipswich.

New traffic light system is up and running on Civic Drive, Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

I read with interest a recent article by Star reporter Paul Geater in which he called for Travel Ipswich to be finished quickly and said it has “effectively been a total nightmare.”

The wider business community in the town centre has been most affected and there are many amongst them that would argue they have lost customers and staff because of the disruption.

I take a slightly more constructive approach than merely wishing it had never happened. This is because I have been convinced by a very simple argument that has not been used anywhere near enough by those in charge of the project.

The argument is that, without road traffic improvements – many of which we are still to see the benefit of as the scheme and the systems within it come together – the town centre will just become more congested and more unappealing as time moves on. This is about future-proofing.

However, come together it must now….and very quickly, because people’s patience is running out.

Uncertainty about the timings of remaining work as well as clarification of what those works will be must be ended.

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Queen’s Street is a good example. My organisation supported this and we stuck our neck on the line by saying “stop prevaricating, if you are going to do it, get on with it”.

The scheme should provide a dramatically improved public space and the potential to increase flows of people between the Cornhill Square, the Saints Quarter and the Waterfront.

Yet, months later, there is no certainty and no start or finish dates.

So, a simple plea from the town centre business community to those in charge.

Yes, we have been inconvenienced. Yes, it has been disruptive for us. Yes, some wish it had never happened. But, stop talking, get it finished and help us to sell the benefits that it will bring.

My continued optimism, though, depends now on final actions rather than more words and more time wasted.

Paul Clement

Ipswich Central