Ipswich unveils plan to improve park, play areas and public safety

Chantry Park

Chantry Park could get a multi-million pound restoration. - Credit: Janice Poulson/iWitness

A major restoration of Ipswich's largest park, new play areas, safety measures and a council tax discount for the poorest families are part of package from the borough that will see its element of bills go up by just under 2% in April.

The borough's element of council tax bills is likely like to go up by about £5.70 a year - 11p a week - for residents in Band B homes, the most numerous in the town.

Council leader David Ellesmere said the 7,500 households in Ipswich receiving Local Council Tax Relief would receive an average discount of £10 on their bills. Those in Band A homes would see their bills fall by £8.02.

The council plans a £3.5m investment programme to improve play areas around the town over the next five years with £2.5m coming from its own capital spending and £1m from developers.

Mr 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."

David Ellesmere.

Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

The council also plans to set aside £1.5m to support a Heritage Lottery Fund bid to restore Chantry Park, the largest in the town and the scene of Ed Sheeran's concerts in 2019. The total restoration cost would be several million pounds.

Mr Ellesmere said: "We've seen how people appreciated what was done in Christchurch Park and Holywells Park. Now we want to do the same at Chantry Park."

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The council also wants to invest in more safety measures with five new mobile CCTV cameras and work to deliver more elements of the Safety of Women and Night plan.

The borough part of council tax bills is just one element alongside Suffolk County Council, which is planning a total rise of just under 3%, and the Police and Crime Commissioner who is planning a rise of 4.2%. Overall council tax bill rises are expected to be less than the current 5.4% inflation rate.

Opposition leader Ian Fisher said he had only had a quick look at the proposals, but feared the council was not doing enough to increase income after its losses during the pandemic - and also felt that rather than help just a small number of families it would have been better to have smaller rise for all households in the borough.