Ipswich: Better shops are key to town improvement, survey respondents claim

IPSWICH: Better shops and a better link between the town centre and the Waterfront – they are the key requirements for residents who have so far responded to The Ipswich Star’s survey on the county town.

There is still time to send in survey forms but a picture is starting to develop of the views of people in the town and its surrounding communities.

Of those who have sent back forms by post, 78 per cent live in the borough and a further 15pc live in greater Ipswich – including communities like Kesgrave, Rushmere and Pinewood.

The shopping centre is the most important feature of Ipswich for those who filled in both the online and the paper survey forms – but for those who filled in the forms in the newspaper it only just beats the parks and open spaces as an important feature of the town.

When asked what would encourage you to come to the town centre more often, the clear top answer for both surveys was better shops.

The second most important feature in both surveys is improving the appearance of the town.

There is not a great deal of support for building more homes in the town centre – only a small minority want more homes to be built as developments in their own right near the town centre.

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A larger number of people felt flats should be built above new shops or offices – but the most popular answer was that there were enough new homes in the Waterfront area, and developers should concentrate on building traditional homes elsewhere in the town.

About two-thirds of people who responded said there should be steps to bring the Waterfront and the town centre together – the remainder felt they should be allowed to develop independently of each other.

However, the most popular solution seems unlikely to be accepted by the authorities – many people supported the concept of building footbridges over the busy roads at Star Lane and Key Street.

Officials at both the borough and county councils have said this solution would be difficult because they would be expensive and would not comply with the disability discrimination act.

There would also need to be pedestrian crossings on the roads – and experience suggested that if there were such crossings they would be more popular than a footbridge anyway.

The final result of the survey should be published next week.

n To have your say, click on ‘news’, then ‘columns’ and then select the Paul Geater column.

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