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Could Ipswich’s small shopping centres get boost from Town Deal?

PUBLISHED: 05:30 02 October 2020 | UPDATED: 09:51 02 October 2020

The Dales Road shopping area could get an investment from the Town Deal.   Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

The Dales Road shopping area could get an investment from the Town Deal. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charlotte Bond

For decades they’ve been the forgotten, and overlooked, glue that binds Ipswich communities together – but a new era could be on the way for the town’s neighbourhood shopping centres.

Lucky Singh would like to see parking improved at the Dales Road shopping centre.  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDLucky Singh would like to see parking improved at the Dales Road shopping centre. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

One of the proposals in the list of possible projects for the bid for the £25m Town Deal fund is a package to improve and upgrade neighbourhood centres across the town – small community shopping areas that have found a new lease of life during and since lockdown.

MORE: Where would you like the Town Deal money to go in Ipswich?

North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter has been pressing the claim of these areas – he has several in his constituency which serve a large number of households which are within walking distance of the shops and pubs there.

He said: “It has sometimes felt that these areas have missed out a bit with the emphasis on larger centres and superstores but they serve a very important purpose and it would be good to see some attention given to them.

Ed Cook from Penny Lane Computers said more parking enforcement was needed alongside improvements to Dales Road.  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDEd Cook from Penny Lane Computers said more parking enforcement was needed alongside improvements to Dales Road. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

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“I am aware of the importance of them in my constituency, but the same thing applies to neighbourhood centres all over the town – in Gainsborough and Chantry as well as in Whitehouse and Whitton.”

In the Dales Road neighbourhood shopping centre, which includes a bakery, a Co-op, a Post Office and a computer centre among other businesses, people felt it could do with some improvement.

Local resident Lucky Singh said: “It could do with a bit of money spent to improve the parking – it is often full up and the area doesn’t look very good. You get a lot of people stopping off here to pop into the shops. It could certainly do with a bit of attention.”

Dr Dan Poulter at the Fircroft Road neighbourhood centre. Picture: Dr DAN POULTERDr Dan Poulter at the Fircroft Road neighbourhood centre. Picture: Dr DAN POULTER

He felt the pedestrian crossing should be improved, and possibly the surface improved to emphasise that it was a busy area giving pedestrians more confidence about crossing over the road while collecting shopping.

Ed Cook is manager of the Penny Lane computer shop and repair centre – and agreed that parking was an issue: “It should be tidied up but also there should be better enforcement. There is supposed to be a limited-time parking but you often see cars left here all day or for several days at a time.”

He also said work to improve the look of the area would be welcome.

People have until next Friday to say which proposals they would like to see implemented – or to write in their own ideas for improvements to the town.


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