New bridges for Ipswich feet

THREE new bridges could be built over the River Orwell as part of an attempt to bring new life to underused areas of the town, the Star can reveal today.

THREE new bridges could be built over the River Orwell as part of an attempt to bring new life to underused areas of the town, the Star can reveal today.

But none of them would be used by motor vehicles – they would be for pedestrians and cyclists.

Their construction is being suggested as part of a new urban regeneration plan for the town centre aimed at encouraging more people to walk or get on their bikes.

The most ambitious plan is to create a new walking route from the town centre to Ipswich railway station.

This would include the construction of a new footbridge across the river and the little-used railway sidings between the Orwell and Grafton Way.

The retail park opposite the Royal Mail sorting office would be redeveloped and the route would continue through Cardinal Park, in front of the UGC cinema, and along Wolsey Street, Cutler Street and Silent Street into St Stephen's Lane.

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The proposal has been drawn up by consultant Urban Initiatives Limited which was hired by the East of England Development Agency to draw up an action plan for the Waterfront/Ipswich Village area.

As well as the bridge near Ipswich station, two other bridges could be proposed – at St Peter's Wharf between Foundry Lane and Great Whip Street and between West End Road and Ranelagh Road giving a pedestrian link between Ipswich Village and the Orwell Retail Park just off Ranelagh Road.

Borough planning officer Russell Williams said the proposals were still at an early stage.

"This is very much an aspirational document, looking at how the area might develop over the next decade – it isn't something definite that is about to go ahead next week," he said.

Key organisations in the town – including the Ipswich Society – have been consulted about the proposals and they are due to be discussed by senior councillors at an executive meeting later this month.

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