Town centre needs real boost

HOPES of Ipswich getting a new Olympic-sized swimming pool increased again today after it was revealed that the value of the Crown Pools site is higher than first thought.

HOPES of Ipswich getting a new Olympic-sized swimming pool increased again today after it was revealed that the value of the Crown Pools site is higher than first thought.

A new leisure complex on Portman Road could be part of a huge new investment in the town centre which would also see the long-awaited development of the Mint Quarter and Civic Centre sites.

Now developers are saying that work will start on these major projects during the autumn of this year - and everyone who knows Ipswich will be hoping they are right.

However those who have known the town for many years will not be taking anything for granted - we have heard so many promises of new investment over the years that have failed to materialise.

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Ipswich badly needs some major new investment to attract the interest of shoppers and win back those who have deserted the town for other major centres across East Anglia.

The last major development in central Ipswich was the Buttermarket Centre more than 15 years ago - since then there have been huge new shopping centres opening in Norwich, Cambridge and Colchester.

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With the opening of UCS and the rapid growth in the number of homes in the town, the time is certainly right for a major investment in Ipswich town centre.

Everyone will be hoping that the announcement that work will start on the new shopping centres - linked with the development of a major new swimming pool on Portman Road - will actually get under way during the autumn of this.

Then Ipswich can finally reach the Premier League of East Anglian shopping destinations.

THIS week is crucial for everyone who values the tranquillity that used to be a feature of Suffolk life as bosses from the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) decide on future routes for aircraft over the county.

One thing seems certain - they are preparing for more flights to come over Suffolk and that will inevitably mean more people being disturbed by more noise.

For some people the noise is not a distraction, it is part of the background hum of modern life - but the fact is that more planes will eventually mean more flying at a lower level creating more noise.

The decisions that are being made this week might not have an immediate impact this month or next month, but in the years ahead they will affect the lives of millions of people living under the flightpaths.

And it is vital that the views of those people are taken into consideration when the decisions are made.

That is the reason for The Evening Star's Air Fair campaign - to ensure that decisions which will affect those living in Suffolk are not taken behind closed doors and simply presented as a fait accompli.

We have to ensure the bosses at NATS listen to us before we are deafened by effects of the decisions they take.

WE have only just come out of the pantomime season in the area's theatres and already bosses are preparing for next Christmas' offerings at the Regent and New Wolsey.

Of course they require a great deal of planning - and negotiations to ensure top stars come to town. With two great favourites in Aladdin and Cinderella in town, next Christmas in Ipswich should have a real sparkle.

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