Cannes you believe it? Waterfront has French appeal

IPSWICH'S Waterfront was today compared with glamorous European marinas and championed as a symbol of economic revival.

IPSWICH'S Waterfront was today compared with glamorous European marinas and championed as a symbol of economic revival.

The claim was made by one of the architects behind the region's efforts to beat the downturn on a visit to the docks this week.

Deborah Cadman, chief executive of the East of England Development Agency, said: “The Waterfront is a fantastic example of confidence in an area.

“It has a southern France feel about it, with the boats and swanky flats. People will come here for a cultural experience then go to the town centre.

“It is just fantastic and we are really proud of it. We want Ipswich to have a positive and vibrant image but also be hard-working to drive the economy.”

Mrs Cadman, formerly the chief executive of St Edmundsbury Council, praised the Waterfront as a shining example of how public and private investment can bring prosperity to the area.

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University Campus Suffolk, which has seen an 11pc increase in applications, was highlighted as a means of arming graduates with the skills required to develop new industries.

In a show of commitment to new technologies - a sector Mrs Cadman regards as vital to future growth - EEDA has invested more than �3million into the Innovation Martlesham centre at BT's Adastral Park, where 1,100 jobs will be created.

In all, the regional development agency has ploughed more than �53million into Ipswich, which is expected to yield nearly a 500per cent return over the medium term.

There are also calls for improvements to be made to the A14, which is often plagued with accidents and congestion.

Mrs Cadman said: “While it is desperate there are so many accidents, from our point of view when the A14 is closed it has a negative impact on business.”

It is estimated that congestion in the region costs the economy around �1billion a year.

Mrs Cadman, 46, praised The Evening Star's Fightback campaign, saying that a sense of “doom and gloom” can make matters worse.

“We fully support the approach of the Fightback campaign to highlight the positive stories from people and businesses,” she said.

“It's about saying 'it's bad, but it's going to get better'. We need to make sure Ipswich is at the front of that recovery and takes advantages of the phenomenal opportunities come out in future.”

Is Ipswich well-placed to thrive after the recession? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

EAST Anglia is well-placed to survive the recession because it is less reliant on heavy industry, according to Deborah Cadman.

The chief executive of the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) said parts of the regional economy grew for the first time in May.

She made the assessment during a speech at the Society of Editors dinner in Cambridge in June, on the eve of her one-year anniversary as head of the regional development agency.

She said: “On the whole we went into the recession in a better position than other regions.

“EEDA analysis has shown that the region's pharmaceutical, technology and agricultural sectors have maintained growth. However, some sectors have contracted significantly with job losses across the region.

“The latest figures show that unemployment rose to six per cent during February to April. This is the highest rate since mid-1997, but well below the peak in 1993.”

Looking beyond the recession, Mrs Cadman said sectors such as high-tech manufacturing, aerospace, bioscience, digital communications and low-carbon technologies were vital for future economic growth.

She added: “There is a lot to be positive about but it is going to take a lot of effort by a lot of organisations working together to thrive through this recession.”

Waterfront regeneration - �5million used to buy and regenerate Cranfields Mill site in 2000.

University Campus Suffolk - �23m to create Suffolk's first university campus in 500 years.

DanceEast - Nearly �1m used to fit out the national dance agency's DanceHouse, which the group moved into this week.

Felaw Maltings - �1.5m to restore the former maltings building into prime business accommodation.

Ip-City Centre - Around �7.5m plough into the Wherstead Road facility, creating 49 jobs and helping businesses start-up and expand.

Learning and Enterprise Access centre - �2.3m ploughed into Suffolk County Council to help young people no engaged in employment, education or training (known as NEET).

THERE is around �30million up for grabs to help businesses weather the economic storm.

In a bid to simplify the complex tangle of support on offer, EEDA has created a business map so you pinpoint the advice that is right for your company.

For information on grants and specialist help, visit www.eeda.org.uk/finance or to try the map, go to www.bizmapeast.co.uk.

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