New deputy leader takes on Ipswich challenge

The new Leader of Suffolk County Council Colin Noble (left) and Deputy Leader Christopher outside En

The new Leader of Suffolk County Council Colin Noble (left) and Deputy Leader Christopher outside Endeavour House.

Suffolk County Council’s new leader Colin Noble has given his deputy the job of looking after Ipswich’s interests in the new cabinet.

Christopher Hudson hopes to work with the borough council, Ipswich Central and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership to bring more investment to the town – especially to the town centre.

Mr Noble said the appointment was a clear indication of the importance he placed on the development of the town, and said he had already had a meeting with Ipswich Central chairman Terry Baxter to discuss its plans to boost the town.

He would be discussing how to boost the town during a meeting with Ben Gummer over the next fortnight.

“I am keen to meet with the borough council because there is a lot of commerce, there is a lot of money being made in the town but it is true to say that the town centre certainly could be better and the retail offer could be better – and we all want that.”

Mr Hudson said he was keen to work with all sides to improve the town: “We have got to listen. We have to listen to the borough council and make sure that we deliver what resources we can get. We have to listen to the people of Ipswich and deliver what they want.

“Because there is a perception that we ain’t listening, that we haven’t been listening that we are not delivering what they want. If you like it’s like a doctor that is giving out the pills without having the consultation.”

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He said he “loved” the vision that has been drawn up by Ipswich Central.

“I wholly endorse that, now we need the resources.”

Mr Hudson said now the general election had gone, it would be a good time to talk to the borough. He said: “It is positive now. Let’s move on with the agenda to improve the town and start delivering. People are looking for action now.”

The borough is only part of the area that many people see as “Greater Ipswich.” Mr Noble said that when talking about Ipswich he was thinking of the whole urban area stretching from Martlesham Heath and Kesgrave in the east to Claydon and Blakenham in the west.

However Mr Hudson, who represents Kesgrave on the county, said that his voters did not see themselves as being part of Ipswich – at present.

He said: “We are in a time of great change and that may well be very different in a few years time. How will we see the new community being built next to Adastral Park? Will that be ‘Greater Martlesham’?”

And he was keen to ensure that the town centre had something to offer those looking for the better things in life: “We under-estimate the aspirations of the people who live in Ipswich. It is an over-used word. People want to own something – a home and something to put in it.

“They want to be able to go out to a restaurant. We mustn’t under-estimate the aspiration our fellow residents of Ipswich have to improve their lifestyle or improve their life chances.”