After living in a village for 33 years, I moved to Ipswich almost eight years ago and find plenty of things to love about the town. Here are just some of them.
- The numerous parks and libraries, so that wherever you live in the town you have free access to green space and a library. Exercise for body and mind.
- The rich cultural and historic heritage of the town with its wealth of medieval churches, many of which have been converted to modern use.
- The great arts scene which Ipswich has, with the ever improving Pulse Fringe and lp-Art festivals, as well as the wide ranging and varied programme provided by the New Wolsey and Regent Theatres, and Eastern Angles and Red Rose Chain theatre companies, complemented by the excellent Film Theatre.
On the minus side, Debenhams is just a pale shadow of its former self, so Ipswich really needs a large department store in the centre of town, and more shops that cater for the mature woman with a fuller figure. Can we also have a proper tea shop on the lines of Betty's of Harrogate. I'm sure it would be popular with the tourist trade as well as locals. I like a cappuccino as much as anyone but aren't there just too many coffee chains in the town now?
I would also like to see more appreciation of the 1930s buildings we have in the town and feel they are overlooked in favour of earlier periods. The demolition of the garage at the bottom of Bolton Lane was a travesty in my opinion. The growth in the popularity of motoring is an important part of our social history and garages are a part of that history. The wonderful sweeping facade, with the iconic glass bricks, was built to disguise the basic utilitarian structure of the garage and was a joy to behold. Now we are left with an ugly gash in the skyline. To argue that it opens up the view of the buildings on the opposite side of Bolton Lane is a bit like saying there'd be a better view of St Stephen's Church if the Ancient House was demolished.
The development of Ipswich didn't stop at the turn of the last century so action should be taken to protect some of its 20th century buildings before it is too late.
[Editor: The garage was demolished without planning permission (see page 7). Those who, like me, enjoy the view of the Manor House now revealed didn't advocate the demolition, but now it's done ... ]