Hotels news good for town

IPSWICH is a town which badly needs more hotels of all styles and all sizes so it is very good to be able to report that seven new establishments with 1,000 rooms are in the pipeline.

IPSWICH is a town which badly needs more hotels of all styles and all sizes so it is very good to be able to report that seven new establishments with 1,000 rooms are in the pipeline.

That will give a big boost to the town's economy - bringing both tourists and business leaders to Ipswich.

Of course not all the hotels will be built at once, but it is clear that these will bring real choice to people looking to stay in the area.

Some people may prefer to stay in quiet country hotels, and the area around Suffolk already has several of these. But others prefer to stay in the heart of a bustling town, just a short walk from shops, restaurants, theatres and nightclubs.

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And the town centre badly needs a high-quality “grand” hotel complete with conference facilities to attract high-spending business leaders.

These new hotels will certainly help make the town more of a destination - even if some of the rooms in the heart of the Waterfront area could be rather noisy if you sleep with the window open!

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But while the news about the hotels is certainly good for Ipswich, the town needs to look long and hard at what it has to offer people who stay here.

The nightlife in Ipswich has improved over the years, but attention has to be paid to what the town's shops have to offer.

If it is to attract people looking for “City Breaks” Ipswich needs to break away from the image of a down-market shopping centre with too many empty shop units.

The borough council, Ipswich Central, landlords, and developers need to get together to talk about breathing new life into a town centre that seems to have gone backwards over recent years.

The loss of major shops like Allders and Littlewoods has only been slightly compensated by the arrival of TJ Hughes and too many streets are now dominated by empty shops interspersed with the odd charity store.

It will not be easy to attract visitors for city breaks if there isn't the opportunity for high-quality retail therapy during the day before a good meal and a trip to the theatre or multiplex cinema in the evening.

And it still seems extraordinary that not one retailer can be found to take up any of the units on the ground floor of Grafton House, a building in the heart of a business district with more than 3,000 people working within a short walk away.

Ipswich needs landlords and developers who are prepared to show faith in the town's regeneration to help create a shopping centre worthy of a growing town.

IPSWICH face another tricky away game tonight against a Burnley side which has made a sparkling start to the season.

It is getting rather repetitive to say Town must find a cure for the awayday blues - but that is exactly the position they find themselves in tonight.

Another loss could push Town dangerously near the Championship drop zone, an extraordinary situation for a team who have delighted their home fans with stylish displays and a 100 per cent home record this season.

Burnley are a good team - but if Town can recapture their home form on the road then a visit to Turf Moor should hold no fears for the Tractor Boys.

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