Government impressed by Ipswich Vision – ministerial advisor

Ipswich Independent Busines of the Year Winner Sophia Norris of Pocketwatch & Petticoats receives he

Ipswich Independent Busines of the Year Winner Sophia Norris of Pocketwatch & Petticoats receives her award from Fiona Wright of Ipswich Central, Ipswich Central board member Cathy Frost and last year's winner, Semra Avcikaya of Alaturka Restaurant. - Credit: Archant

Carry on with your work, you don’t need government help – that was the message from government regeneration expert Jackie Sadek to the Ipswich Vision conference.

She was speaking to 180 business leaders, council chiefs, and academics at the conference to look at the progress of the town’s attempts to reshape itself.

Ms Sadek is chief executive of the government’s UK Generation body and is a special advisor to Local Government Secretary of State Greg Clark.

She was very impressed by the Ipswich Vision – which looks to shrink the traditional east-west shopping axis of the town centre and integrate the traditional heart of the town with the Waterfront by encouraging development along the “Saints”, Upper and Lower Brook Streets and Fore Street.

She said: “Really you don’t need too much help and advice from the government because you’re doing exactly the right thing. In Whitehall Ipswich is seen as an exemplar of urban regeneration.”

Ipswich Central chairman Terry Baxter said it was important that the conference was able to highlight the important improvements that were being made in the town centre.

“What is important now is that people can start to see things happening at the Buttermarket and Tower Ramparts. We’ve seen new shops move in like Pandora and Tiger and many are excited by the prospect of Jack Wills moving into the former Croydon’s store.

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“I know that in the past things have been promised which have not happened in the end – I think people know this time things are happening here.”

The seven bodies that are promoting the vision have drawn up an ambitious timetable during which they hope the town will be transformed.

They have drawn up a 21-point timeline which they hope will be finished by 2020 with the completion of the business corridor along Princes Street.

The next two years should see some of the most intensive activity with the paving of Queen Street and Princes Street, the redevelopment of the Cornhill, and the opening of the Buttermarket Centre as a leisure venue.