Ipswich is fortunate to have a very good NHS hospital, but it is not helped by the vast spread of its disparate buildings from north to south. So it's good news that the hospital has bought the site of the former school on Heath Road. But it may be years before we see the benefits of building new clinical departments linking into the Garrett Anderson Centre and closer to South Wards. The northern wing (some parts built as a workhouse in the 19th century) could then be closed and the land re-used.
St Lawrence repairs
Quality repairs to a medieval church are necessary but expensive. It is pleasing to see that the repairs and renewals to stonework, brickwork and buttresses at St Lawrence have been done, thanks to the continuing care of Ipswich Historic Churches Trust with community funds from Viridor, the recycling and waste company.
‘Welcome to Ipswich' signs
Proposals for six new signs have been sent to the Dept of Transport for approval. They will state ‘Welcome to Ipswich, East Anglia's Waterfront Town' - which is a precise and fair claim when you think about it. The UCS building will feature on two signs and the other four will show the Town Hall, Christchurch Mansion, the Willis Building and Giles's Grandma.
Sir Trevor's ‘Dream'
A fitting full circle for Sir Trevor Nunn to return to his home town to direct A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Wolsey Theatre - remarkably the only Shakespeare play he has never directed previously. And all the more appropriate that the production will include some local schoolchildren, since he himself first trod the professional boards, aged 13, at the former Ipswich Arts Theatre. The production runs from 16 June to 9 July and will be a boost to the town's cultural life.
Hopes for Park & Ride?
This double facility using Martlesham Heath in the east and London Road in the south is under threat because of its cost to SCC and rather fewer people using it. It is encouraging to learn that various local bodies are working with SCC to try to save a service which is important to the town centre and to hospital visitors.
Politicians and the arts
It was pleasing to read in the Ipswich Star Ben Gummer's appreciation of public art in the town, with particular reference to Giles's Grandma and the Question Mark at UCS. David Ellesmere also wrote in praise of theatre in Ipswich, especially about the Wolsey, but pointing out that Ipswich has six Arts Council National Portfolio Organisations for theatre work, more than Cambridge or Norwich. Two of them, the Wolsey and Dance East, have received more than £300,000 each from the Arts Council to upgrade their facilities.
Tickets in the rain
Work on the major re-vamp of the railway station necessitates a relocated ticket office. But the portakabin being used is too small to hold more than a dozen customers at one time. The rest wait outside with no awning or any other cover.