New uses for a nearly new building
Landmark House is the large office block at Whitehouse on the hill overlooking the A14. It was built for Agilent (part of Hewlett Packard) but never occupied by them. It was bought by Suffolk County Council and following conversion is now being used by SCC and Suffolk Police. Child protection services and other services such as work involving trading standards and economic crime will be done there. Some 800 staff will work there when all the moves have been completed. Some police will vacate the Elm Street police station and SCC will leave St Edmund House, Belstead House and other buildings.
Telling the time - if only!
Public clocks which have stopped or are wrong are a nuisance and let down the image of a town. (The Society conducted a survey of clocks a few years ago.) Particularly irksome for the many passengers using Tower Ramparts bus station are the clocks on the two Wetherspoons' pubs. Both clocks are working, but the one on The Cricketers has never been put forward to BST and the one on the Robert Ransome has been some fifteen minutes fast for months.
Another Ipswich Connection
Matt, the Daily Telegraph's cartoonist whose little drawings on the front page are enjoyed beyond the readership of the Telegraph, is now revealed as Matt Pritchett, grandson of the celebrated writer VS Pritchett (1900-1997). The Society's Blue Plaque at 41 St Nicholas Street, his birthplace, was one of the first we installed after one of our members in New Zealand pointed out that Sir Victor was born in Ipswich. The Society was warmly thanked by Oliver Pritchett, Matt's father and also a Telegraph contributor, who brought his mother (V S Pritchett's widow) to see and approve of the plaque soon after it was installed in 2001. We hope Matt has seen it, too.
The future of The Mill
The 11-storey tower block, The Mill has occupants at last. They can enjoy some of the best views in Ipswich. The adjacent Victorian frontages on what was Cranfield's complex site were meant to be retained, but the administrators of the scheme are debating whether demolition is possible and might be helpful in re-starting the project since its Irish bank went under. Our Chairman, John Norman, has said that the Victorian frontages are little more than faÃ§ades for 1960s silos and "it is difficult to see how it could be used even in the long term." If The Mill can be re-started and if the 'wine rack' at Regatta Quay (formerly Paul's) is sound and can be clad and fitted out and if the derelict buildings closest to Stoke Bridge could be demolished and the site redeveloped, the northern quays of the Waterfront would be complete. Only three 'ifs', but it will take time!
Beacon Town Conference
By the time you read this, the second Beacon Town Conference will have taken place. Sir Stuart Rose is scheduled to be the keynote speaker. Sit Stuart lives just outside Ipswich and thus is familiar with the town, its range of retail offerings and the problems the 'high street' faces in the 21st century. He is also familiar with M&S and how it is losing (high street) sales at an alarming rate. It is however mastering the art of Internet selling and here sales are climbing, particularly those using the very latest forms of access (4G, Ipad and smart phone) who 'click and collect'.