New attraction will replace Maritime Ipswich Festival in 2016. But what do council bosses have in mind?

Member of The Garrison Artillery Volunteers fire an 18 pdr artillery piece at Maritime Ipswich

Member of The Garrison Artillery Volunteers fire an 18 pdr artillery piece at Maritime Ipswich

Ipswich council sinks successful Maritime Festival

Waterfront business owners have voiced their concerns after it emerged the Ipswich Maritime Festival, which attracted 50,000 people over the weekend, will not return next summer.

Borough council bosses insisted last night that a new attraction will be laid on for the public in 2016 and that Maritime will return the following year and will be “bigger and better”.

But the move has been questioned by those who have seen first hand the success of the two-day event and have benefited from it directly.

Mike Keen, who runs the Cult Bar and the Brewery Tap said: “It would be a great shame if it didn’t happen next year.

“It is developing into a really good festival and there was a lot more interest this year, and a better quality of traders.

“It was a fantastic event which is doing something for the town and for the community.”

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Kie Humphreys, of the Continental Cafe and shop, added: “We had a really busy weekend, It was a good event.

“I am very apprehensive about what they will replace it with. They say there is going to be something.

“Whether it is a Maritime Festival, or just a big event at the Waterfront, it has evolved and people know it is going to be here every year.

“Is there a point in breaking the link, to do something different here?”

Steve Haslam, owner of the Grand Central American Diner, said he “couldn’t really believe” the decision.

News of the Maritime break was tucked away on the back page of the festival leaflet. This gave the dates for the next showpiece as August 19 and 20, 2017 – but it gave no explanation of what is happening next year.

Terry Baxter, chairman of local business organisation, Ipswich Central, said: “It was fantastic to see so many people at the very heart of our town and celebrating its maritime heritage.

“It’s disappointing that we will not be seeing it next year. However I look forward to finding out what Ipswich Borough Council has in store to replace and surpass the success of this weekend’s activities.”

Nathaniel Coughlan, general manager of Isaacs on the Quay, added: “I think it is unfortunate and somewhat disappointing if it isn’t going to happen next year, not just for ourselves and our neighbours but the people of Ipswich.”

Explaining the reason behind the decision, Ipswich Borough Council deputy leader, Bryony Rudkin, said Maritime was a “great success” and was adamant that it would not be abandoned.

But she added: “Following discussions with partners we are planning something a bit different for next year. Plans for the new festival will be announced in the coming months but it will include great fireworks on the waterfront. As previously announced, Maritime will return in 2017 and will be even bigger and better with far more maritime and nautical components including more boats of all shapes and sizes.

“This extra time will allow for greater attractions to be secured. The council is seeking to build on successful events and to complement them with new ideas.”

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