Lots of positivity from the Vision Conference for Ipswich

Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central

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

Town Topics with Ipswich Central

All of the speakers at the Turning our Town around event line up for the camera at UCS on Thursday

All of the speakers at the Turning our Town around event line up for the camera at UCS on Thursday

Last week’s Vision Conference at UCS, organised by Ipswich Central on behalf of the seven Vision partners was attended by 200 business people.

As a range of speakers gave their perspective on the ambitious plans for the future of the town centre, I was left reflecting that something had really changed here.

When I looked back on all the media coverage of the day, I began to realise what it was.

Firstly, the narrative was focussed around future opportunities rather than historic missed opportunities.

We are moving forwards now.

But, secondly – and, perhaps, more importantly – the overwhelming views were that what is happening in Ipswich has to be positive.

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Even the normal whingers and moaners are having to concede that the tide is turning, and that it is turning fast.

Amongst a range of inspiring presentations, there are two contributions that, perhaps, best sum up the mood. Jackie Sadek, a regeneration expert who now advises the Department of Communities and Local Government said “your Vision has been hard won, never forget how precious that is as you all move forwards”.

And, the New Anglia LEP Chairman, Mark Pendlington, described how, during an interview on radio that morning, he had been describing the ambition behind the Vision project, after which the presenter paused for a few moments, lent back in her chair and said “this is Ipswich’s moment isn’t it”.

And, that is the essence of it.

The Vision Board, including Ipswich Central, has a moment in history now and the backing required to redefine the town centre forever. We can return to historic differences, or we can continue in a unified and determined manner to deliver the Vision’s 21 objectives that have been so warmly received.

Jackie is absolutely right – the generation to come will never forgive us if we turn back now. We simply must deliver.

Paul Clement

CEO Ipswich Central

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