Ignore the whingers – Ipswich town centre needs a reboot

Ipswich town centre needs a reboot - whether people whinge about it or not!

Ipswich town centre needs a reboot - whether people whinge about it or not!

I’m sure there will be the usual army of miseries who will have already taken to the comments section of our websites to complain about Ipswich Central’s proposals to turn the town around.

But frankly, I couldn’t care less.

Their opinion doesn’t matter a jot to me – and I really hope it won’t matter a jot to those who are looking to invest in the town centre over the next few years.

Over the last few weeks, during the election campaign, I’ve found myself visiting several businesses around the town – some of which I’d never heard of before – who are doing a great job creating hundreds, if not thousands, of well-paid jobs in the town.

Those employees who are earning good money from their work in Ipswich should be able to spend that money in shops, restaurants, cinemas, and other places in Ipswich.

However, parts of the town centre are not fit for purpose – and need a reboot.

There are reasons for this – but I don’t buy the idea that Ipswich is too poor, is too “working class” to have classy stores.

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Believe me there are companies here creating substantial wealth. And there are commuters living here bringing back substantial pay packets from their jobs in the City of London.

Yes, there are people on low wages – but there are people on low wages in London, Cambridge, Canterbury and Oxford. That can’t hide the fact that there is considerable wealth in those cities.

That wealth has helped create thriving city centres.

But it hasn’t happened by accident. It has been planned and nurtured by councils, by businesses, by the public genuinely wanting a thriving city centre and sharing a vision.

That is what is needed here. The Ipswich Central vision for the town centre might be the only one on the table – but it looks pretty good to me.

I understand there will be concerns about moving the market from the Cornhill to Queen Street.

But remember the Queen Street we are talking about here is a fully-pedestrianised area next to the Cornhill and Giles Circus, not the rather down-at-heel street we have at present.

And if I hear any more moaning about converting the Buttermarket centre into a cinema, I’ll scream. To those who say: “Let’s have another department store there,” look at the facts.

Owen Owen came there – and had to be rescued. Allders took it over, and the group ended up in administration. TJ Hughes came there and its owners ended up in administration – although the name survives online and on a few stores in the north of England.

Notice any pattern here? Successful department stores didn’t want to go to the Buttermarket Centre. Get real and be glad someone does want to make a go of it!