Market deserves better attitude

IPSWICH market has become a major asset to the town ever since the Evening Star-led campaign saw it move from outside Civic Centre to the real heart of Ipswich on the Cornhill.

IPSWICH market has become a major asset to the town ever since the Evening Star-led campaign saw it move from outside Civic Centre to the real heart of Ipswich on the Cornhill.

But its very sad to see the breakdown in trust that has developed between the market traders and the local council.

It would be tragic if that breakdown leads to the market stagnating or, even worse, into a wholly unnecessary decline.

The issue that is currently proving the flashpoint between traders and the council is who will be the market operator in the long-term.

The traders, not unnaturally, feel that as they kept the market going over the lean years when it was near collapse they should have the right to take it forward and develop it over the next few years.

The council says it needs to maximise the success of the market – and while the traders can bid for the licence it is right to allow other operators to also tender.

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Neither of those positions are unreasonable.

However what seems to have turned the mood sour is the apparent attitude of some senior council spokesman – at least in the eye of the traders.

"What they say may sound reasonable," said Mike Young who chairs the market traders co-operative.

"But the manner isn't. One of the most senior people we have to deal with is downright rude.

"He always starts any meeting by telling you he's got to go to a more important meeting or event within the next 20 minutes.

"Then we see the eyes rolling, and it's quite clear he isn't listening to us and doesn't give a damn about what we have to say.

"How can we deal with someone who clearly wants to treat us with contempt?" he said.

I know that many people in Civic Centre want to work with the market traders. They recognise that the market is an asset to the town. They are working very hard and spending a lot of money so it can expand.

So why are they allowing one or two people who clearly have an attitude problem rock the boat? Why don't they tell the Mr Miserys to sling their hook and get someone who appreciates the traders' concerns to do the talking?

AS a regular visitor to Felixstowe seafront – especially during the summer – I can't help agreeing with council officials who think the south seafront area is a mess that needs to be tidied up.

But I can't for the life of me understand the logic of putting homes on the site.

I know the council and developers say there won't be any risk of flooding.

And I know there's a nice high amphitheatre planned for the site giving people a high vantage point . . . just in case.

But I wouldn't fancy buying a house there – at least not unless it came complete with a lifeboat station on the roof.

LAST week I said that the Tories in Ipswich were starting to show signs of life – now they've got their act together even more by organising a meeting about the closure of post offices and attracting a very good crowd.

It's grassroots issues like this that are likely to garner votes in this year's elections – and now the town's Tories are starting to leave their Labour opponants scrabbling about in their wake.

While Labour seems intent on naval gazing and chewing over its internal disputes, the Tories are trying to reach out to the wider community.

I still wouldn't bet on the Tories winning power at Civic Centre – but if they keep up their recent impressive work they could put a big dent in Labour's majority.

I'M not the greatest fan of Russian democracy – especially after President Putin was re-elected with 70 percent of the vote.

But I couldn't fail to have some sympathy for him when I heard his response to the American government's criticism.

"I'm not going to take any lessons in democracy from President Bush after what happened in Florida in 2000," he said.