Legalising brothels not the answer

THERE really has only been one subject dominating the news in Ipswich - and indeed all Suffolk - this week. With the murder of the prostitutes focussing attention on their twilight world, there have been more suggestions made that their work should be legalised and legitimised in registered brothels such as those which exist in other parts of the world.

THERE really has only been one subject dominating the news in Ipswich - and indeed all Suffolk - this week.

With the murder of the prostitutes focussing attention on their twilight world, there have been more suggestions made that their work should be legalised and legitimised in registered brothels such as those which exist in other parts of the world.

There are merits in that suggestion - women would be able to work in a safer atmosphere and in theory there would be fewer prostitutes on the street causing problems for residents of what is currently the red-light area.

However the practicalities of the suggestion really must be called into doubt.

Working from a registered brothel would require the prostitutes to have regular health checks - and that would probably mean that drug addicts would be excluded from that “legitimate” work.

It's unrealistic to think they wouldn't work as prostitutes so they would be back on the streets in the red light area - probably undercutting the fees demanded in the registered brothels.

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And the men who use prostitutes probably wouldn't be too keen on using registered brothels where they would be identified and possibly have their own health checked.

They may be much happier using the twilight world of the red light zone where aliases are the norm and where no one asks too many questions.

In an ideal world legalised brothels might be the answer - but in reality they are only likely to attract those on stag weekends from other parts of the country.

PROPOSALS to cut the number of lanes in the Waterfront road system have predictably sparked a great deal of comment around the town.

Most of the letters coming into the Star offices have been from motorists outraged at the prospect of reducing the amount of road space - and the threat of more congestion.

More congestion is on the way with more homes going up around the Waterfront - and with UCS coming along in the next few years that is going to get worse.

So leaving the situation as it is at present is not going to solve the congestion problem. It's going to make things much worse.

That leaves planners - and the rest of us - with a dilemma. What do we do about the traffic? Does the town make more space for more cars?

Or does it try to persuade people to leave their cars behind and use other forms of transport to get from one side of the town centre to the other?

If you want to accommodate more and more cars, with more and more fumes that they create and fewer traffic jams, then the only way to do that is to build new roads.

Planners tried that in the 1960s with the creation of Civic Drive and in the 1980s with the creation of Grafton Way and the one-way system around the Waterfront.

Anyone who wants to really reduce congestion in the face of the expansion around the Waterfront has to face the fact that the only way to eliminate the problem is buy building expensive new roads through the heart of the most historic part of the town.

Ancient buildings would have to be bulldozed - or be damaged so they no longer have much heritage value.

Pedestrians and cyclists would have to accept that they were no longer important in a “motor-city” and we would all have to face the fact that the character of the town would be determined by the needs of motorists.

That is a one point of view about the future of our town. Personally it isn't a future I find attractive.

Although I'm a motorist and I drive into town every day because I sometimes need my car for work, I've come to accept that my need to drive right into the heart of Ipswich cannot be allowed to dictate the future of the town.

There has to be another solution - I have to learn to walk more (and that will do me good in itself) and I have to be prepared to use more public transport.

I'm never going to get rid of my car - it's always going to be necessary to visit friends and relations and to make the regular trips to the supermarket which have now become an essential part of life.

But I am trying to use it less to travel into the town centre on weekend shopping trips - frankly it's become more practical not to use it.

And I can't help feeling that if the town is to expand then that's the principle that many people are going to have to adopt.

The alternative is, frankly, not worth thinking about.

IT is right for Ipswich council to look at new organisational structures in an attempt to make itself more efficient and provide better value for money.

But the idea of getting rid of a whole raft of senior managers with hundreds of years of experience between them does seem rather over-the-top.

From a professional point of view, the list of posts under threat includes most of my best contacts at Grafton House.

They can't get rid of so many people - how on earth will I find out what is happening at the borough?

AMID all the controversy about politicians' Christmas Cards this year - especially the fuss over Home Secretary John Reid's card which just says Seasons Greetings - I was delighted to see Ipswich MP Chris Mole has kept up one modern Christmas tradition in Suffolk.

His card was designed by Holywells High School student Ellie Lee-Amies and there's no missing the message on the outside - or the greeting “Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year” inside.

Whatever else he does, I hope the town's MPs maintain this tradition of getting a school pupil to design an attractive seasonal card.