Firstly a big thank you to Neil Salmon who has edited the Newsletter for the past 92 editions, won awards and gained the admiration and respect of hundreds of readers. This has been a quality magazine, an excellent read and has been extremely well put together. We owe Neil a round of applause but equally we wish Robin Gaylard all the best as he takes over.
It is possible that by the time you read this April Newsletter the Tesco planning application for a new store in Grafton Way will have been determined. I say 'possible' because the case has been going on for some time. Permission was given in April 2010 for a much larger store, partially on land which the applicant didn't own - not unusual in that once permission is granted negotiations can begin in earnest with both parties understanding the true value of the plot in question. Unfortunately that wasn't to be the case here and the current application is for a much smaller store. Why? Because the economic climate has changed, or because the bigger store didn't fit? Whereas the 2010 application received a fair number of objections from a range of different parties, this submission has attracted only a handful. Ipswich Central, outspoken and single-minded previously, have on this occasion simply pointed out the difficulty road works will cause in the pre-Christmas period. The Society's letter of objection is on pages 7-8.
Irrespective of the outcome of their application, there is some talk of the store never being built, delayed indefinitely in similar fashion to stores in Hadleigh and at Walton. But with approval for Tesco, it is unlikely Morrison's will open a store on the old Civic Centre site.
An article by Ken Nichols in the last issue prompted response form a number of readers supporting the idea of a Museum of Ipswich. You will know that Ipswich Transport Museum have artefacts from both the Ransome's companies as well as from other engineering firms. You might be surprised to learn that the Museum in High Street has in store machinery from the previous cigarette, brewing and clothing industries of the town, Tudor buildings and costumes from across the centuries. Enough exhibits to create an extensive Museum of Ipswich. But how do we achieve one?
A considerable amount of time and effort has been spent during the past year on the Northern Fringe, in order to get the master plans acceptable to developers, councillors, planners and to the community. Initial workshops created wish-lists of community facilities, including schools, shopping facilities and green space, not all of which are affordable by the developer.
The aim is to create a garden suburb which when the new towns were first mooted had low densities. Clearly the Northern Fringe needs to meet current Government requirements with a density in the order of 30 units per hectare. If you are thinking four-bedroom detached with back and front gardens, beech hedges and parking for two cars you are thinking less than 10 per hectare. The Northern Fringe will be more like Ravenswood than Letchworth.
The Agency responsible for the maintenance of, and changes to, highways in Ipswich is about to change, from the Borough who have been responsible for the past 40 years back to the County, and in October to a private contractor, May Gurney of Norwich. In a final bid to get more superfluous signs removed, three members of the Society carried out a quick survey in the town centre and gave the technicians at the Borough a list of priorities that could be achieved before their 31 March deadline. Enjoy your summer.
John Norman, Chairman