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Could Town Fund bring residents living by busy Ipswich road together?

PUBLISHED: 07:30 11 October 2020

Swaraj Jeyasingh, Tracey Needham, Sara Pells and Julianne Roworth at the Taste Community Cafe in Woodbridge Road, Ipswich. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Swaraj Jeyasingh, Tracey Needham, Sara Pells and Julianne Roworth at the Taste Community Cafe in Woodbridge Road, Ipswich. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Archant

A group of residents in Woodbridge Road are hoping that the new Town Deal being prepared for Ipswich could help to bring a new community spirit to an area that often feels blighted by traffic.

Traffic in Woodbridge Road in Ipswich makes it difficult to develop a community spirit. Picture: PAUL GEATERTraffic in Woodbridge Road in Ipswich makes it difficult to develop a community spirit. Picture: PAUL GEATER

There are shops, cafes and other business along much of the length of the road – but it has been difficult for local residents to get a feeling of “belonging” to the area because of the amount of traffic on Woodbridge Road.

MORE: Neighbourhood shopping centres look for Town Deal boost

Swaraj Jeyasingh is one of the residents who is campaigning to get more community facilities in the area. He said: “The shops and businesses along here do get quite a lot of customers and there is quite a variety from food shops to takeaways to a fishing shop and a green energy centre – but the community feeling is a bit more difficult to get because of how busy the road itself is.

Swaraj Jeyasingh in Woodbridge Road in Ipswich. Picture: PAUL GEATERSwaraj Jeyasingh in Woodbridge Road in Ipswich. Picture: PAUL GEATER

“We are hoping to persuade the council and to use the Town Deal to get more things here to bring people together – this could be a real opportunity to build the community here.”

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Among the projects they would like to see is the development of small areas of open space for people to meet and children to play in – and to get some support for people to take over empty shops.

There already has been some success with this. The Taste Community Cafe is run by volunteers from St John’s Church just around the corner in Cauldwell Hall Road. That closed during the lockdown but has just reopened in a limited way on four mornings a week.

MORE: Town MPs urge residents to get behind Town Deal

The residents have surveyed homes in the area and have found that there are hundreds of households who use the shops and other businesses which are within five to 10-minutes walk from their homes.

But some businesses have changed over the years because of difficulties with parking.

“There used to be quite a number of antique shops in the area which attracted customers – but the last one closed within the last few years and said that was because customers had problems parking,” said Mr Jeyasingh.

He said the local community hoped that the proposal for support to be given to local shopping areas under the Town Deal could benefit them – and felt more people appreciated local shops now after their experiences of working from home during the lockdown and beyond during 2020.


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