Opposition set out ideas to make Ipswich 'culture capital' of East Anglia

The ideas come in response to the Labour administration's 2022 budget which includes plans to invest in the town's parks. 

The ideas come in response to the Labour administration's 2022 budget which includes plans to invest in the town's parks. - Credit: Charlotte Bond/Sarah Lucy Brown

A waterfront visitor centre and indoor market are among the steps opposing councillors want to take to make Ipswich "the culture capital" of East Anglia.

Conservative group leader at Ipswich Borough Council, Ian Fisher, shared the party's ideas which include showcasing the town's historical and cultural offerings.

It comes in response to the Labour administration’s 2022 budget plans announced earlier this week. 

Cllr Fisher said the £25m Town's Fund gave the town a "once in a lifetime opportunity" to alter the fortunes of the town and not rely on car park income.

Ian Fisher

Ian Fisher has set out the party's ideas to boost Ipswich. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

“We will showcase the history of Ipswich, including a waterfront visitor centre and we have exciting plans to ensure that Ipswich becomes the culture capital of East Anglia," he said.

“We want to see an indoor market and our plans include many ideas to revitalise the fortunes of the declining town centre.”

He added the council was too reliant on car park income and property investment returns hit by the pandemic.

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Cllr Fisher: “There is not one policy that offers new ways for the council to raise income.”

The group also wants to scrap the existing area committees and instead give ward councillors a budget to spend on ideas suggested by the public.

Ipswich Borough Council's Labour group has set out a major restoration of Ipswich's largest park and a council tax discount for the poorest families are part of package from the borough in its budget.

Council leader David Ellesmere said: "We've seen how much people value play areas over the last two years and those in Christchurch Park, Dumbarton Road, and Alexandra Park have been very popular. We want to carry on with more like that around the town."

The budget sets out five new CCTV cameras will be bought to cover anti-social hotspots in the town and a £20,000 commitment to aid women's safety at night. 

The council is planning a 1.98% council tax rise, which equates to 11p per week for Band B properties, the most common in Ipswich.

The final budget will be decided by full council on February 23 after the executive has discussed the plans next week.