Suffolk Record Office
Storage space in the present Gatacre Road buildings will soon be insufficient. For the county's main record office to be in the county town would be very appropriate. Two very different new locations have been mooted. One is a linkage with UCS on the Waterfront; the other in County Hall, St Helen's Street, which would clearly need a great deal of re-construction internally. We await with great interest a possible decision in December.
The impressive granite memorial featured on last issue's cover commemorates the Merchant Navy's achievements and losses of life. It is the result of a long campaign and fund-raising effort and erected on Orwell Quay by the Ipswich branch of the Merchant Navy Association; it continues to draw visitors and residents to read the inscriptions and ponder.
The re-modelling of Barrack Corner to create a cycle route and to aid pedestrians has led to a nice open paved area but at the expense of the seats. So in the west end of the town centre, seats have been removed here, and at the Berners Street/St Matthew's Street junction and at St Matthew's/Westgate Street. Food for thought.
Birketts to move
It is understandable that this big law firm should want to move into purpose-built premises, on the site of Riley's Pool Hall in Princes Street. The numerous buildings they occupy at present in Museum Street may not be easy to fill but we hope they will find good uses in this attractive street.
Tesco's intention to create a new 'Express' store in part of the former jeweller's premises in Tavern Street has produced mixed reactions. It might seem an odd newcomer in this prominent 'period' building, but predictable regular use is arguably better than another empty shop, especially in this location. More food for thought!
One may well be astonished that apparently 130 different languages, some of which most of us have never heard of, are spoken by pupils in Suffolk schools. Even though some are probably variants of better known languages and some may only involve a handful of children, it must be a headache for teachers!
Publicity for Ipswich has lately been for 'East Anglia's Waterfront Town' because that is indeed our unique feature compared with Norwich, Cambridge, Colchester et al. So it is encouraging to hear of possible progress in dealing with some of the remaining eyesores. The new local owner of the 'Wine Rack' is planning its real future (see page 20). And IBC seems determined to push for progress for the even worse west end of the Waterfront - the site of the burnt out St Peter's malting and the Paul's concrete silo. (A pity it's not likely to include the derelict Burton's building next to DanceEast.) We wish them well.
Brett's furniture store
One of the last locally owned shops in the town centre is set to close. The business will be concentrated on their modern shop in Bramford Road. The higher business rates in 'the high street' are partly to blame. There is surely a case for a national re-assessment of town centre costs if politicians are serious about towns retaining their character.
Tower Ramparts shopping centre
The specific historical associations of the name will be lost if it is to be called 'Sailmakers'. But it is encouraging that the new owners intend to invest substantially in our town centre. The Tavern Street frontage needs to be appropriate for the street scene and the crucial importance of the main lift should be recognised for a centre with, unusually, two equally well-used levels.