Ipswich bids for nearly £29m to bring new life to town

Ipswich Cornhill

The Town Deal bid could bring millions to Ipswich. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Ipswich is seeking nearly £29m from the government's Towns' Fund to help transform its heart - and bring new life to the communities that make up the borough.

The Town Deal Board has formally submitted its application to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government - and is now waiting to hear whether it has been successful.

Ipswich Conservative candidate Tom Hunt and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick in Arras Squar

The invitation for Ipswich to apply to the Towns Fund was revealed when Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick visited Tom Hunt before last year's general election. - Credit: Paul Geater

Towns and cities across the country were invited to bid for Town Deal finance for major projects, with up to £25m available for each community - but in the early stages of bidding some towns were awarded more. Blackpool received nearly £40m from the government.

The board has increased its bid for the Town Centre Regeneration fund by £3m to £8.5m - this would give the town a pool of money from which to bid for major projects as development opportunities arose. For instance, it could be used if a major building becomes empty and the town wants to redevelop it.

Terry Hunt

Town Board chair Terry Hunt said people had come to appreciate their local shopping centres over the last nine months. - Credit: Lucy Taylor

It is also bidding for an extra £1m to improve local shopping centres - bringing the total bid for this up to £3m.

Board chairman Terry Hunt said: "The last nine months with more people working from home have shown people the value of their local areas and this should help improve parts of the town which need attention."

The board is bidding for £1.5m for public realm improvements - money to restore parts of the town which need a facelift.

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"The borough council had put aside £3m for this in its budget for next year but had to cut 50% of of that - and this money would restore that.

Arras Square

Improving Arras Square is still high on the board's list of priorities said David Ellesmere. - Credit: Paul Geater

Council leader David Ellesmere said the first priority of this fund would be restoring the Arras Square area of the town centre.

"That will go ahead with the £1.5m we are putting in come what may," he said. 

"But we hope to get the rest of the funding that will enable us to make improvements to areas like Major's Corner, Lloyds Avenue and Princes Street Bridge."

The Town Deal has also increased its bid to improve the Waterfront Gateway, the area between Stoke Bridge and the Jerwood Dance Centre, by £1m in the hope of speeding up improvement work to the last former silo on the town's dock to make an attractive entrance to the whole Waterfront area.

Two projects that were included in the earlier draft have been dropped from this final application - a new health centre in the heart of town and a new indoor market.

But Mr Hunt said they were still very much in board's plans and their development would be included in the regeneration proposals.

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