Ipswich: Traffic lights set to go as town centre developments get under way

Queen Street, Ipswich

Queen Street, Ipswich - Credit: Archant

Parts of Ipswich town centre are set to get a new look in a bid to improve their image – and the changes will even see the removal of a set of traffic lights!

Princes Street and Queen Street are to be paved from Giles Circus – Queen Street will link into the paved area of St Nicholas Street and St Peter’s Street leading to the Waterfront.

At the other end of the town centre, demolition work has started on a row of derelict shops in Upper Orwell Street.

The site is next to waste ground, and the area is to be landscaped by the borough with flower beds until the whole Cox Lane/Tacket Street area is redeveloped at some point in the future.

The Queen Street/Princes Street work will not be full pedestrianisation – cars and lorries will still be able to use the route as they do in St Nicholas Street – but the county council is confident this will not be a major issue.

Cabinet member for transport Graham Newman said: “Our traffic surveys show that even at the busiest time of the day there are only 52 vehicles an hour using those streets, that is less than one a minute.”

Businesses in both the streets need access for delivery vehicles – and there are parking spaces for blue badge holders in Princes Street.

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Traffic orders for the changes will be published within the next few weeks, and the final go-ahead is expected to be given in June – however there could be an indefinite delay if there are objections requiring a public inquiry to be held.

If the work is approved then, it will be carried out in two stages. The first section will be paved between August and November and the second street will be done between January and March next year.

One element that should be welcomed by drivers and pedestrians will be the removal of the traffic lights at the Queen Street/Falcon Street junction.

They will be replaced by a zebra crossing and slower traffic on the paved streets should ensure it is safer for both vehicles and pedestrians to use the junction.

Meanwhile at the other end of the town centre, demolition work has started on a block of derelict shop buildings that have blighted Upper Orwell Street for many years.

The shops are on land that was earmarked to be redeveloped as the Mint Quarter, but work has never started.

One of the shops was owned by the borough and the rest were owned by NCP. Now a deal has been agreed with the landowner for the borough to demolish them and establish a landscaped area until the whole area is redeveloped.

The scheme is being funded by the borough’s central area committee, whose chair Julian Gibbs said it should improve a notoriously scruffy area of the town.

He said: “I think everyone will be pleased to see those buildings come down. Once the area is cleared it will be planted, hopefully in May, and should look much better than it does at present.

“This is the kind of thing area committees can do – we were able to improve the St Matthew’s area and now there is this work – it should make a real difference to the town.”