The property market has slowed down and various studies give little hope of quick improvement. Repossessions are threatening a number of property owners, particularly on the Waterfront where early sales were snapped up very quickly. To complete the problem there is currently an ongoing investigation into illegal practices which are said to have taken place over some sales of property on Orwell Quay. All in all, there is lack of confidence in the future trend in property (especially, but not exclusively domestic). This loss of confidence is certain to affect commercial developments. Let us hope it results only in a slowdown not a cut back.
APB's Haven Marina has applied for planning permission to extend the marina towards the lock gates. When the last increase in berths was sought the Society expressed worries about the decreasing amount of 'free' water left for other recreational uses, such as boat races (remember Chinese dragon boats?). We are therefore opposing this development.
Another aspect of the Waterfront has also re-surfaced - it never goes away. I refer to pedestrian access around the water. We have moved on from marinas being protected by barbed wire and fences and there is now very good and pleasant access along the water's edge past both marinas. When the current building works are completed on the Northern Quays, there will be pedestrian access to some 90% of the water. The 10% which prevents a circular walk, which was possible for many years when the port was owned by IBC, involves the lock gates. We are told Health and Safety considerations prevent this access, but detailed reasons are not given. I think it is time to press strongly for this access and I hope the Society will do so, so that once again the citizens of Ipswich can enjoy to the full this lovely stretch of water close to the town centre.