Could traffic ever get taken off the roads near Ipswich's waterfront? New vision for town centre
PUBLISHED: 05:30 20 March 2019
Ambitious proposals to close part of the road system around Ipswich waterfront could be back on the table as part of a bid to revitalise the town – but politicians at the county council still have to be convinced that scheme could work.
That is one of the 17 priorities being put forward by the Ipswich Vision partnership aimed at revitalising the town centre over the next decade.
Other proposals include building a northern bypass by 2030, redeveloping St Peter’s Dock on the Waterfront, and redeveloping the Carr Street end of the town centre and the western section of Westgate Street beyond the High Street traffic lights.
Ipswich Vision Partnership chairman Terry Hunt said: “The partners are excited to unveil these important priorities for the continued development of our county town. They reaffirm our core strategy of making stronger and easier connections between the wonderful Waterfront and the traditional town centre.
“We also look forward to an exciting and vibrant programme of events on our new-look Cornhill, including a high-quality farmers’ market on the first Sunday of each month, starting on April 7.”
One of the priorities is re-stating an earlier proposal to turn all or part of Star Lane into a two-way road and closing Key Street to general traffic – reserving it for pedestrians, cyclists and emergency vehicles.
Paul West is the cabinet member for Ipswich at Suffolk County Council – which is responsible for roads and transport. He was keen to improve the links across the town – but could not ignore the needs of motorists.
He said: “We are keen to improve links between the town and the Waterfront – but we would not do anything that did not have widespread support from the public. And we would have to listen to all road users – pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.”
He pointed out that this was a major traffic route across the town centre.
Mr West also said getting a northern bypass – or relief road – for Ipswich was a priority. The Vision hopes to see this opened by 2030.
He disputed claims it could cost as much as £1bn: “The estimates I have seen for the road are £350m to £400m and while it would have to bring in some new development, I don’t think it would lead to the construction of 15,000 new homes to the north of Ipswich.”
Ipswich Council leader David Ellesmere said his authority, which completed the sale of the buildings at St Peter’s Dock last year, hoped to announce a scheme to improve the area soon.
He also hoped that it would be possible to re-open the Bury Road Park and Ride centre: “We are looking at several major improvements to Ipswich and access to the town centre. These priorities give a clear indication of how we want the town to improve over the next few years.”
Priorities for Ipswich’s redevelopment
The Ipswich Vision Partnership has identified 17 priorities for the town – 14 to be pursued by its members and a further three that members will encourage others to pursue. They are:
1) To develop a strategy to improve routes into the town centre and the line between the town centre and the Waterfront by the end of 2019(Suffolk County Council to lead).
2) Develop improvements to the traffic system around the Star Lane area to improve the historic setting of the area including Wolsey’s Gate by the end of 2020 (SCC).
3)Decide how to redevelop the Carr Street area and the western end of Westgate Street, moving the emphasis away from retail by summer 2020 (Ipswich Borough Council to lead).
4) To be ready to apply for City Status if there is another opportunity by the end of 2020 (SCC).
5) To complete the Princes Street corridor from the railway station to the town centre with a new car park and offices/hotel by summer 2023(IBC)
6) To complete the Ipswich Museum project by summer 2023 (IBC)
7) To develop an annual programme of events on Ipswich Cornhill by the end of this month (Ipswich Central to lead).
8) Complete the redevelopment of St Peter’s Dock roads (summer 2019) and buildings by summer 2023 (IBC).
9) Complete £3m redevelopment of public spaces in Ipswich town centre by spring 2022 (IBC)
10) To get government funding for a northern bypass or relief road by end of 2021 for completion by the end of 2030(SCC)
11) Improve the town’s park and ride network by the end of 2020 (IBC)
12) Develop a new lighting scheme for key buildings by the end of 2020 (Ipswich Central).
13) Develop new ways of bringing investment into the town by the end of 2019 (Ipswich Central and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership)
14) Reopen the Old Post Office on the Cornhill by the end of 2020(IBC)
Encourage other bodies to:
15) Support the redevelopment of the Wet Dock Island site by the end of 2025(SCC)
16) Start building new homes on three major sites by the end of 2021(IBC)
17) Encourage more cultural and evening activities in the town centre by the end of 2019 (IBC)