Ipswich town centre needs improvement – but can have a future as bright as its past

Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement

Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement - Credit: Archant

Two of the most influential voices on the development of Ipswich town centre have added their comments to our survey on the future of Ipswich.

Ipswich Central – the Business Improvement District company that represents companies operating in the town centre and aims to make it more attractive to shoppers and other visitors has called for more investment to improve the area.

And Ipswich’s first ever town centre manager John Field has written a strong defence of the town centre – outlining why its history and character should help it develop over the next few years.

The letter from Ipswich Central has been signed by chairman Terry Baxter and chief executive Paul Clement. It is published in full on page eight of today’s Star.

They call for more public investment on entrances to the town, better low-cost and high-quality car parks, and a firm commitment to carry out improvement work on the Cornhill.

They say: “The vibrancy of this area (the town centre) is vital to the town’s wider economic prosperity and important to the lives of all residents.

“If Ipswich is to continue to dominate Suffolk as its county town and main economic driver, it is imperative that all organisations share and sign-up to the same objectives.”

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That could be seen as coded rebuke to the borough council which has proposed the former Civic Centre site should become a retail centre. Ipswich Central is keen to focus retail on the north-south axis between Tower Ramparts (soon to become Sailmakers) and the Waterfront.

It wants to see the Civic Centre site becoming a housing-led development.

Mr Field says Ipswich has much to be proud of, so far as the town centre is concerned and lists 20 positive points.

These include the selection of historic buildings in the town centre, the street layout dating from the seventh century, the large pedestrianised area, and the town’s parks which are among the best in the country.

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