What made the headlines in Ipswich in 2015? Review of the year shows Buster the hero lab and Wagamamas are your top reads
- Credit: Gregg Brown
The seeds of recovery have been sewn and the tide is beginning to turn for Ipswich town centre as we enter 2016.
Looking back over some of our most-read and most-shared stories the past 12 months, we can see town centre development ruled the headlines, but sadly the good news was marred by tragedy.
Back in November it was announced Wagamamas, Five Guys, Prezzo, Empire cinemas, Joe’s Kitchen and Coast to Coast had all signed up for the new-look Buttermarket - news that was met with much delight by our online readers.
The news attracted 45,000 views - making it the most-read story of the year.
At the time Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere said: “I don’t know if people really understand how transformative this is going to be for the town centre. It will bring the town to life in the evenings and the new restaurants will help fill the ‘quiet time’ between shops closing and people going out.”
We were awash with stories of upturns in the town centre, giving a strong sense of change and real hope that Ipswich is finally on the very cusp of change.
As well as the new arrivals, we saw Tower Ramparts transformed into Sailmakers, work start on the refurbishment of the Buttermarket and Primark began work on a major extension. When we revealed details about this latest project at the start of the year, the story reached 28,800 Facebook users.
Although the over-arching feeling is that 2015 was a good year for Ipswich, there were some disappointing stories about the town centre including the loss of Gap and Next.
The Orwell Bridge has claimed many a life in its 30-year history and once again questions are being asked about how we can improve safety following three recent deaths.
On December 20 a body was found beneath the bridge following a call from a member of the public.
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The discovery came after two bodies were pulled from the water within two days of one another at the end of November. The first was that of a 20-year-old and the second was Jamie Hutton, 40.
Thousands read these updates online, showing what a major impact these tragedies have not only on the relatives of the victims, but also the wider community.
Increasingly, our readers are using Facebook to get their news and the biggest stories we have seen on our page this year include Kieron Dyer’s announcement he would be donating his fees from I’m a Celebrity to an Ipswich-based charity - a story that reached 38,500 Facebook fans.
Sadly another post that struck a chord with readers was the tragic death of trainee chef Darnell Meade. More than 37,600 users saw our post on 19-year-old’s death. The young father, of Needham Market died a crash in Norwich Road, Barham on April 24.
And just this week Buster the hero lab has stolen your hearts with 37,000 of you viewing our post about him saving his family from a potentially fatal house fire.