Ipswich Vision helping to create ‘a buzz about town’

Roadworks on Princes Street in Ipswich.

Roadworks on Princes Street in Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

A year ago the Ipswich Vision was published – looking at how the town centre should be transformed to make it more attractive to shoppers and those looking for a day out.

Since then there has been considerable progress as major projects have got under way – but there is still much more to be done, although significant planning steps have been completed.

New stores and restaurants have opened such as Jack Wills, Tiger and Kaspas Desserts. Meanwhile work continues on the £35million redevelopment of the Buttermarket Centre and the conversion of Tower Ramparts into Sailmakers was finished.

There have been disappointments – the loss of the Next store in Westgate Street was a blow to the town, and BHS is expected to close its doors for the last time next month as part of the national collapse of the company.

Other work has started on the ground with pedestrianisation work in the Princes Street/Queen Street area well under way and the work on the forecourt of the railway station.

Over the last year, finance has been secured to redevelop the Cornhill – work should start next summer – and next year should also see the building of a new multi-storey car park on Crown Street.

Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere said people could now see real progress as the town develops month-by-month.

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The Ipswich Vision was drawn up by a number of bodies including the local councils, the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, Ipswich Central, and the town’s MP Ben Gummer.

Ipswich Central chairman Terry Baxter said: “I think everyone involved in the Vision has been impressed by how much has happened – both in the planning and on the ground.

“It has been a real team effort with major contributions from Mark Pendlington at the LEP and from both Ben and David working closely together.”

Mr Gummer added: “If you look at areas of the town like St Peter’s Street and St Nicholas Street there are no vacant units, and for the first time many people can remember, there is a real buzz about the town.”