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Don’t squabble over heritage prize

PUBLISHED: 12:02 05 March 2013

Ipswich Museum

Ipswich Museum

Archant

IT WAS very disappointing for the town when Ipswich lost out on the chance of getting lottery funding for the proposed Gipeswic Centre a decade ago.

Now there is a chance that the town will once again have the chance to get a major new heritage centre – but it is a chance that must not be lost through petty squabbling.

The county council has identified two possible locations for its archive which would be at the heart of the heritage centre – Ipswich Waterfront as part of UCS, or Bury St Edmunds as part of West Suffolk College.

I have nothing against Bury. I’m a regular visitor and I love its heritage, the cathedral, just about everything about the town.

But I don’t want to see the archive stored at the college which is outside Bury St Edmunds town centre – such a move would be such a wasted opportunity for Ipswich.

What worries me about the Ipswich bid is that I’m already hearing calls from the borough for the archive to be included in the proposed redevelopment of the museum in the High Street, currently the subject of a Heritage Lottery fund bid.

If the borough insist on pressing this case and saying that the archive should not go to the Waterfront, there is a real danger that the heritage centre idea will be lost by the town altogether.

The museum, even if it is extended, would not be large enough for the archive – and I’ve even heard a ludicrous suggestion that some in the borough want an archive building on the Crown car park.

Such an idea is completely bonkers! The council already has precious few car parking spaces – and that site is desperately needed for shoppers.

The borough must be prepared to put aside its political differences with the county council and come round to enthusiastically back the Waterfront proposal.

The museum lottery bid should be strong enough without having to rely on the archive – and together the two new developments should help put Ipswich on the heritage map.

Ipswich has a fantastic heritage story to tell the rest of the world – it would be a tragedy if squabbling in the town saw the opportunity to exploit its history be lost to another town down the road.


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