Tell us your views on the regeneration of Ipswich - and what the priorities should be

The Cornhill in Ipswich town centre.

The Cornhill in Ipswich town centre.

It is two years since the Ipswich Vision was launched with considerable fanfare and the promise to “turn the town around” – but how successful has it been in changing the heart of the town?

We want to know your views on how successful the Ipswich Vision has been in transforming the town centre.

Do the changes we have already seen represent a real start on a march to improve the town, or are they likely to prove to be a false dawn in a community that has often struggled to reach its true potential?

A partnership was formed of the county and borough councils, the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, Ipswich Central, the University of Suffolk, the Chamber of Commerce, the Ipswich MP and key businesses in the town centre to push through radical changes.

Since then there have been some notable developments – but to some people the progress has not been as rapid as was hoped. Certainly the time-frame initially outlined has slipped with many of the most significant projects either delayed or still in the planning stage.

Architects' impression of the new look for Ipswich Cornhill. The view from the old Post Office showi

Architects' impression of the new look for Ipswich Cornhill. The view from the old Post Office showing the water feature. - Credit: Archant

However other projects have progressed well and are already making a significant impact on the town.

The Buttermarket Centre’s multi-million pound redevelopment is now complete. The railway station redevelopment has improved that entrance to the town and the rebuilding of Queen Street and Princes Street has given a boost to that area.

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Work on building a new multi-storey Crown Car Park has finally started – although it seems that the main part of this park will not be open in time for this year’s Christmas shopping season.

The redevelopment of the Cornhill is due to start in early 2018 with completion by Christmas.

Work has started on building a new multi-storey Crown Car Park. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Work has started on building a new multi-storey Crown Car Park. Picture: PAUL GEATER - Credit: Archant

And while the borough has bought some of the redundant land in the Waterfront area, there are still no firm plans to redevelop the area near Stoke Bridge which is seen as crucial to the future of this part of the town.

Work is due to start soon on the completion of the “Wine Rack” but there is little sign of work starting to complete The Mill which still has large parts of it unfinished.

We want to know your views on these changes – either fill in the form published with this article or visit www.ipswichstar.co.uk to take part online.

Over recent weeks there have been major changes to the personnel involved with the Ipswich Vision board.

Work should start soon on the 'wine rack ' building on Ipswich Waterfront.

Work should start soon on the 'wine rack ' building on Ipswich Waterfront. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

The town’s MP is a member – and Ben Gummer has been replaced by Sandy Martin following last month’s general election.

The county council is represented by the cabinet member for Ipswich and chief executive. Paul West has taken over as the county’s cabinet member while county council chief executive Deborah Cadman is due to leave for a new role in the West Midlands in September.

Ipswich Central chairman Terry Baxter said the Vision was developing well – although some of the original projects were evolving and had taken longer than initially hoped to come forward.

He said: “The consultation and planning process for the Cornhill did take longer than we had hoped, but we now have a timetable for that work.”

Ipswich Central chairman Terry Baxter.

Ipswich Central chairman Terry Baxter. - Credit: Archant

The Upper Orwell Crossing project with a new road across the river and new access to allow the development site is now in the capital programme for both central government and the county council.

Mr Baxter said he was confident that would now go ahead – it is planned to be completed by 2021 or 2022.

And although it is not in the town centre, he felt the Ipswich northern bypass was vital to regenerate the whole town.

He said: “That is vital to improve access to the town and allow the development of the Garden Suburb – and it is important to remember it is not a case of a northern bypass or the new river crossings. The town needs both and I’m sure the case will be made for them.”

New Ipswich MP Sandy Martin has already attended two Vision meetings in his new role and said it was still very important to helping the town centre develop.

“I think the Ipswich Vision is very important for the development of the town – it brings organisations together to push the town forward. What is particularly pleasing for me is to see that businesses like ABP are now taking an active role as well.”

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