MPs urge YOU to have your say on where £25m for Ipswich should be spent
PUBLISHED: 13:27 07 October 2020 | UPDATED: 14:48 07 October 2020
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt and Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter write why it is important for you to have your say on where £25million of government money for Ipswich should be spent.
The public consultation remains open on how the £25million allocated to Ipswich from the government’s Towns Fund should be spent.
We want to underline how important it is that you take part - you can tell us your preferred projects out of 15 proposals and suggest your own ideas as well.
When we campaigned together for Ipswich to be included and the successful bid was announced, we couldn’t have imagined how the challenges Ipswich faces would only increase with Covid-19.
We’re clear that this money won’t be a silver bullet for all these challenges. But it is an important opportunity to deliver real change on the ground and a number of key improvements for our communities, and also to revisit the regeneration of our town in a different way.
We’re fully aware that in the past, it’s sometimes felt like the same old people telling us the same old things about what’s best for our town, with too many schemes not really making a difference.
And if there’s one thing we know people in Ipswich don’t like, it’s money being wasted.
This funding from the government is for the people of Ipswich and this time, our approach must be different if we want to get right.
That’s why we’re both working together on the Town Deal Board to ensure that at every stage, the priorities of our constituents are represented and that there is a real focus on getting value for this money, not more of the same.
This is why we’ve pushed for projects like restoring the former Paul’s silo building to be included in this consultation.
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If done correctly, this project could turn an eyesore into a valuable asset, and with the development of the car park next to the silo, open up the Waterfront to the town centre.
Alongside the project to build a pedestrian bridge over the lock to the Island site, this funding is a valuable opportunity to boost the regeneration of the Waterfront, attract more people to it and support the excellent businesses in the area, not to mention finally improving connectivity between the Waterfront and the town centre.
We also see this money as a chance to invest in the cultural and economic life of our town and in targeted projects which will leave a lasting legacy. That’s why we also think it’s important that projects such as continuing events at the Cornhill and finally putting the Old Post Office back into use are included in this consultation.
The events project would also make money available for things like public screenings, helping to strengthen our town centre as a place where our communities can come together.
Looking back, the Cricket World Cup last year brought together so many people from across the different communities in our town, engaging with each other to cheer on our national side. Having a big screen on the side of the Cornhill for events like this, albeit after we’ve defeated Covid-19, would be a great focal point for the moments when our town comes together.
But, of course, Ipswich is so much more than just its town centre – for too many years our communities on the edge of the town have been left behind and missed out on investment. So we feel strongly that this money should benefit every part of Ipswich.
Ipswich is a big town with distinct local communities. Each with their own strong sense of identity.
Tom recently visited the Robin Drive allotments where the King Fisher Pub is supporting the mental health of men in Chantry by creating a calm space where they can go and work on growing vegetables to be served in the pub.
This is what that community spirit is all about, but in the past communities like Chantry haven’t always got the investment they deserve.
Shopping parades in places like Whitton, Gainsborough, Chantry, Whitehouse, Rushmere and Castle Hill are an important part of the fabric of these communities, but they too have missed out on investment.
Refreshing our shopping parades would give a welcome boost to those communities, reinvigorating tired shop fronts and improving pedestrian access, delivering more parking and tree planting to make them more attractive places to shop and visit.
A regular visitor to Fircroft Road and Ulster Avenue, Dr Dan considers they are a vital asset for those living and working in the area, so together we are determined to make a local shopping parades regeneration fund an option in this consultation.
We agree that investment in our local shopping parades is one of the key ways we can make this money reach furthest for people across Ipswich.
So, we urge you – please take part in this consultation. It’s your opportunity to have a say in what improvements you would like to see delivered in your community.
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