New home developments boost Ipswich's 'connected town' ambition
- Credit: Google maps
Three potential new residential developments reaching different stages of their progress over the last few days have given a fresh impetus to Ipswich's bid to become a "connected town" in the wake of the pandemic.
After McCarthy Stone confirmed it is to start work on a new retirement complex in Lower Brook Street, Ipswich Council is hoping to start work early next year on a new 150-home development in Bibb Way.
That is not technically in the town centre, but it is not far — and an easy walk for most people.
There is also another planning application to create a small development of four flats above three new small shop units on St Margaret's Plain, the former Alexandria Hair Artistry salon.
These developments all tie in with Ipswich Central's ambition to create a "connected town" with thousands more homes within a 15-minute walk of its heart.
Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement said: "The developments are early indications that the connected town strategy is absolutely the right one. But these are early wins and we need to sustain it.
"To keep the demand going we need (a) to identify more sites/buildings ripe for residential (we’ve nearly finished that piece of work), and (b) to bring in other things that people will want if they are to live centrally.
"So they do not have to keep leaving the centre for things they need (health, vets, open spaces, things to do etc). The delivery plan that we will publish in September, which will also feedback on and build from the huge consultation exercise we’ve conducted, must make it easy to deliver the overall product, not just site by site."
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Attracting new residents to the centre is seen as vital for towns and cities across the country as they try to compensate for the loss of traditional retailers.
Over the last few years national chains like Debenhams and Arcadia, with its Top Shop and Burtons brands, have followed BHS into administration and an existence online only.
The arrival of more people living in town centres also changes the type of retailer seeking to move in — next month, Tesco is due to open a new small grocery store in the former Jack Wills and Croydon's store on Tavern Street.