Regeneration expert leading 'Ipswich Vision' quits after four months

Jackie Sadek

Jackie Sadek was appointed Ipswich Vision Partnership in November. - Credit: Paul Geater

The future of 'Ipswich Vision', the partnership of organisations trying to transform the town's fortunes, has been thrown into doubt.

Regeneration expert Jackie Sadek, who has previously worked with the government, was unveiled as the new chair of the Ipswich Vision Partnership at the end of last year - but has quit after just four months.

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Ipswich Vision Partnership is hoping to develop the Connected Town project. - Credit: Ipswich Vision

She has said the departure was "wholly amicable", but it follows a schism between different organisations involved in the Vision about its future. 

The Vision partnership includes the borough and county councils, Ipswich Central representing town centre businesses, Ipswich MP Tom Hunt, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and the University of Suffolk.

All are also members of The Town Deal Board, which administers the £25m granted by the Government for specific projects in Ipswich last year. There are, however, extra members on this board.

Until now, they have been separate bodies with different aims - but Ms Sadek and most of the Vision board members felt they should be combined.

Ipswich Central, Ms Sadek's employers, disagreed but were outvoted by the other partners. Once the decision had been made Ms Sadek said she would not be a candidate to be chair of the new board, and has left her role.

She said: "The Ipswich partners will shortly be announcing their push for a nationwide recruitment process to find someone worthy of this new exciting role. And there is all to play for. Having been a friend of Ipswich for many years, I remain of the firm view that the fundamentals for Ipswich are excellent: your strengths are simply immense, and you have everything you need to attract both public sector and private sector investment."

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Ipswich Central's chair, Terry Baxter, said: "On behalf of local businesses and with the agreement of other partners, Ipswich Central and All About Ipswich brought Jackie Sadek and her expertise in urban regeneration, to Ipswich last November.

Ipswich Central's Terry Baxter has appealed for more support for businesses.

Ipswich Central chair, Terry Baxter - Credit: Nicole Drury/IBC

"From then until the end of February, we provided the funding and support for her as Vision Chair. From the outset, we have voiced concerns about the proposal to merge the Vision and Town Deal Boards which, in our view, have very different functions. However, we allowed other partners to take the process forward.

"We are, therefore, very surprised and saddened to hear that, less than two weeks after, Jackie has announced that she will not be continuing her work here. On behalf of local businesses, we remain ambitious about the future of the town and fully committed to its regeneration. We are extremely disappointed that process and structure in Ipswich have, once again, got in the way of progress and substance."

Ipswich Council leader David Ellesmere, a member of the boards, said: "It was Jackie who proposed that the boards should be combined and everyone agreed, except Ipswich Central."

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce is part of the Partnership, and spokesman Paul Simon said it was important that its work should continue: “We would urge that all partners in Ipswich and across the County, now redouble their efforts to start delivering the scale of progress that the business and wider communities can appreciate and support and which will deliver a lasting legacy.”