Mayor's office set to move across town

FORMER mayors of Ipswich are furious at proposals to end centuries of tradition by moving the mayoralty from the Town Hall to Christchurch Mansion.

FORMER mayors of Ipswich are furious at proposals to end centuries of tradition by moving the mayoralty from the Town Hall to Christchurch Mansion.

The council has confirmed that a new home is being considered for the mayor's parlour and office accommodation, even though councillors have not been consulted.

The Town Hall is linked to the Corn Exchange, which is being closed for five months every year in a money-saving move to stem its losses. The parlour straddles both buildings.

A council spokesman said it would be a “temporary measure” while the borough looked for new permanent solutions for the mayoral offices.

“No final decisions have been taken but the council believes there are strong economic reasons for a move as the Corn Exchange will not be open all year round and because the parlour is in need of improvements,” said the spokesman.

“The Mansion is accessible and the mayoralty would be housed in one of East Anglia's most historic and prestigious houses.”

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Don Edwards, who was mayor in 2000-01, stormed: “They are messing around with the history of our town, but don't have the decency to consult the very people who have held the office and know how it operates.

“How on earth can you have mayoral functions in Christchurch Mansion? It seems absolutely ludicrous - there are not enough toilets in the building to cater for the large number of people who attend receptions held by the mayor.

“I cannot see how it will save any money. It will mean uprooting all the artefacts and paintings which have been collected over the decades and then the support staff will also have to be housed next to the mayor in order for him or her to carry out official duties.”

Inga Lockington, mayor in 2007-08, said she “angry and upset” at the proposals, which have neither been put to a meeting of the council nor sent to former mayors for their views.

“There is no reason to do this. I am really cross. It is totally illogical. The only refurbishment the parlour needs is a new roll of wallpaper.”

David Ellesmere, who leads the Labour opposition group, said: “Every time an evening function is held at Christchurch Mansion, the council will need to provide security staff. No money will be saved.”

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