How you can take part in debate on future of Ipswich

Terry Baxter

Terry Baxter urged people to sign up to the conference. - Credit: Nicole Drury

Ipswich residents are going to be able to find out more about the proposals to turn the area into a "connected town" at special online conference next month.

The proposal outlined by the Ipswich Vision Partnership aims to create a town where everyone lives within a 15 minute walk of the services they need - and which offers an attractive central area to tens of thousands of people who live within a 15-minute journey by road or public transport.

The town centre would be less reliant on retail, with vacant land and buildings potentially used for new homes and complimentary uses such as health centres, educational facilities, flexible working spaces and so on developed around them.

It will also necessarily introduce more green spaces, better cycling and walking routes, and less congestion.

The Vision Partnership, comprising of local authorities and business groups like Ipswich Central, drew up the proposal as a response to the government award of £25m from its Towns Deals Fund - but it has been working on proposals to change the focus of the town centre away from retail for many years.

Ipswich Central chair Terry Baxter said: "The project has triggered worldwide coverage and, in the first week, over 1.5 million people have had sight of our bold and ambitious plan.

"Overwhelmingly, the feedback has been enormously positive with interest sparked amongst potential new residents, students, visitors, developers and businesses all looking out for new format towns like ours.

"I am pleased that it has also raised the curiosity of people living close to our local shopping districts and we will now be exploring how the ‘connected’ model can be used within those local communities too."

To give people the chance to have their say on the proposals, Ipswich Central is holding an online conference to discuss it on April 13 between 10.30am and noon. Details of how to login can be found here.