Ipswich: Borough hopes Travel Ipswich will encourage one in seven drivers to ditch the car

Civic Drive Junction from the roof of The Willis Building

Civic Drive Junction from the roof of The Willis Building - Credit: Archant

Borough bosses are hoping that the controversial Travel Ipswich project will drive one in seven motorists off the road, we can reveal today.

The figure is revealed in the latest revision to the borough’s Local Plan which is due to be debated by members of its executive next week.

The plan reveals that a key aim of the £21 million project, which has seen the town’s largest roundabout replaced by traffic lights, roads rebuilt, and improvements made to its bus stations, is to encourage people out of their cars.

It says: “The Council supports the Travel Ipswich scheme, which aims to reduce dependency on the private car by 15% within the lifetime of the plan.”

It has further plans to ban cars from the northern quay of the Waterfront – and to create a “Boulevard” along Princes Street from the station to the town centre.

Senior Ipswich councillor Peter Gardiner helped to draw up the local plan amendments, and said that the aim of the Travel Ipswich project was to make other forms of transport more attractive.

He said: “If there is a really good bus service and it is easier for people to get around on foot or by cycle, then that should reduce the number of people wanting to drive into the town centre.

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“With the changes that are being made, it should be much easier for buses to get around and they will become much more attractive.”

Ipswich Central boss Paul Clement was concerned that the aim of the new traffic plan was to reduce the number of motorists shopping in the town centre;

He said: “When new retailers are looking to come to the town, the first thing they ask is ‘how many car parking spaces are there nearby, and how good are they?’

“If the town is seen to be trying to reduce the number of cars able to get to the town then that would make it much more difficult to attract new businesses. This is just the wrong message.”

Travel Ipswich is being managed by the county council, whose cabinet member for transport said the aim was not to reduce the number of cars but to manage the predicted growth.

Graham Newman said that figures showed that if nothing had been done, the number of cars heading to the town centre would grow by 15% over the next two decades.

“These moves are aimed at encouraging some of those motorists to use alternatives, and to ensure that the traffic keeps flowing. We are working to ensure the town can cope with a 15% growth in business without grinding to a halt.”