Ipswich: Retailers set for “The best Christmas present possible” as town set for cone-free festive season

The Tower Ramparts bus station is nearly complete.

The Tower Ramparts bus station is nearly complete. - Credit: Archant

Ipswich should have a festive season free of roadworks, it was confirmed today – a move greeted by traders as “the best Christmas present possible.”

Work on the last major Travel Ipswich projects of 2013 will be completed by the end of the working day on Friday.

The Tower Ramparts bus station will reopen at the start of services on Saturday morning, and at the same time Museum Street and Princes Street will reopen to traffic.

The junction between Warwick Road and St Helen’s Street will be fully reopen on Saturday as well.

The move was welcomed by Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement who said shoppers had found the last few months very trying.

He said: “This is the best bit of news Ipswich town centre has received for some time. I am delighted the county has been able to deliver on its promise to get the work done and businesses can look forward to a reasonably clear Christmas period.”

Dan le Sauvage, proprietor of Urban Vintage in Queen Street, welcomed the move.

He said: “It is brilliant that the roadworks will be suspended over Christmas. A cone-free Christmas combined with free park and ride on Thursday evenings provides a clear message that Ipswich is open for business and offers a great choice of independent retailers.”

The end of the works should see the streets of the town clear of roadworks over the Christmas period – although officials at the county council warn there could still be some disruption if emergency repairs are needed, for instance by Anglian Water if a water main is damaged.

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When work resumes in the new year, there will be resurfacing at the Derby Road/Foxhall Road junction and there will be further consultation on controversial proposals to introduce traffic lights at the Nacton Road/Bishop’s Hill junction and at the Norwich Road/Chevallier Street junction.

The number of passengers using Ipswich Buses has fallen during the closure of the town’s two bus stations over the last six months, but managing director Malcolm Robson is hoping to win them back with special offers to mark the return of a more normal service.

There are smart card offers of 10 journeys for £10 and a £10 weekly ticket – and return tickets are being introduced for the first time ever.

Mr Robson also pointed out that there have been no fare increases on services since 2009: “We have lost some passengers since the bus station was closed, I think that was because people were not sure where their buses were going and where they should catch them from.

“But evidence from other parts of the country suggests that once things return to normal, the passengers should return.”