Ipswich could be getting £25m from government, have your say on where it should go
PUBLISHED: 06:00 29 September 2020 | UPDATED: 10:44 29 September 2020
How would you like to see £25m spent on improving life in Ipswich – the team drawing up new plans for a major investment in the town want your views on a list of projects they have drawn up as part of a government consultation.
The Town Deal board has been invited to bid for the cash from the government as part of an attempt to improve the area after the Covid crisis – but before any decisions are made ministers need to know that they have public support.
A total of 15 potential schemes have been put forward for consideration – but the Town Deal board is also happy to consider any other proposals that are “written in” by members of the public before the deadline of Friday week, October 9.
Town Deal chair Terry Hunt said the total cost of the 15 projects – which range from new training and educational courses through to improvements to the town centre and neighbourhood shopping centres in the town – was not expected to be much more than £25m. However the board did want to know which were seen as priorities by Ipswich residents.
Among the proposals are developing the Western Gateway to the Waterfront between Stoke Bridge and the Dance East studios.
This would include restoring and cleaning the old Paul’s Grain silo – the last on the Waterfront – and preparing for its redevelopment by owners Ipswich council. A new climbing wall would be built on its side and the current temporary car park would be turned into a public open space with the wall around College Street being demolished – the historic building on the site is already due to be demolished.
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There is a proposal to build a new footbridge/cycle path over the lock gates to allow the Island site to be developed – with a new Academy of Yacht Building established with the support of Spirit Yachts on its site there.
There could also be a new university department to teach more nurses and other health workers in the future.
Away from the town centre, the Town Deal wants to set up a fund to improve neighbourhood centres across Ipswich. Mr Hunt said: “With more people working from home, these areas in the heart of residential areas are becoming busier and need more to be spent on them to develop them as real community hubs.”
Overall the proposals are aimed at trying to improve and transform the town so the heart of Ipswich is seen as more of a community with more focus given to people living there and needing to access services like health and education in the town centre.
Mr Hunt said: “When the town centre developed as we know it in Victorian times, there were many, many people living right in the heart of Ipswich and needing all the services right there. That is what we now going back to, to some extent, and we want to use this to move in that direction.”
Other proposals are developing a new medium-sized music venue in the town centre and improving some of the public areas that have declined in recent years.
And new floodlighting of buildings and a sound system for the Cornhill could help to cement that area as a key outdoor centre for the town.
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