Government plans recipe for disaster

I WAS fascinated by the plans for the Ipswich New Town that I turned up when researching the history of Greyfriars the other day.

But the more I think about them, the more relieved I am that local planning officers – led by Clifford Smith and Geoffrey Ramsdale – managed to see them off.

Having two huge townships at Belstead and Bramford each with a population similar to that of Lowestoft would have completely changed the nature of the whole area.

And make no mistake, the size of the areas involved would have meant we would not have had well-planned areas like Ravenswood or, dare I say, the Northern Fringe.

These would each have had about 10,000 little boxes crammed into a fairly restricted area.

True, Ipswich town centre would have been larger – there would have been more shops and by now it would have been a much more robust retailing centre.

But it would have had a “new town” feel. Would it have been more attractive to visitors than Norwich or Colchester?

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Is Luton (similar in size to the Ipswich that was planned) more attractive to visitors than Cambridge?

The more I look at the proposals, the more I feel the town had an incredibly lucky escape.

Ipswich might not be perfect, but it has developed organically with its own character – not had a huge carbunkle of a development foisted on it by London bureaucrats who did not have a clue about the town.