Teenagers call for underpass improvement

A COMMUNITY effort is needed to transform a dingy and dark underpass in Ipswich into a welcoming and safe access route.

A COMMUNITY effort is needed to transform a dingy and dark underpass in Ipswich into a welcoming and safe access route.

That is the view of several youngsters in the town who are today launching a petition which calls for a total makeover of the St Matthew's Street roundabout.

Teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17 from St Matthew's Church's You're Only Young Once (Yo Yo) youth club presented their ideas to Ipswich Borough councillors at a meeting where it was agreed that exit signs could be placed in the underpass to direct people to the various roads leading off it.

However they claimed that there is not the budget for a complete renovation, which would include new lighting, flooring, and steps.

It is hoped dozens of people will sign the petition, which is calling for the urgent updating of the underpass, more funding to be approved by the council's Executive, and a scheme of renovation work to be completed.

Barrister Cherie Parnell, who co-runs the club, said: “The drains have been cleaned at last and funding has been agreed for these exit signs which should give people a sense of perspective when they are in the underpass.

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“The young people's ideas have been fantastic. It has been agreed that there can be a few casings down there for art work but the kids want a proper job done. This could be an opportunity for businesses or the council to advertise, and there could be artwork from schools put up there.

“We cannot accept how rundown it is now. We have been trying to sort out this issue for a year now and nothing has been done yet.

“People do run across the road [Civic Drive] to avoid going in the underpass and one day someone is going to get killed.

“So many people feel strongly about it but we just need to get everyone to let their views be known.”

If you can help out their cause in any way, call the Yo Yo Club at St Matthew's Club on 01473 251630 and leave a message.

Are you a community group that feels strongly about an issue? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

new steps and flooring

new lighting

photos of key members of the community encased so it is familiar for people and will get them to visit the underpass

Regular cleaning of the drains to prevent smells

Colour coded exits in the Ipswich Town Football colours

music or radio pumped through speakers

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