Living in the town
Perhaps we are at the start of a new era when town centre living becomes an accepted option for people of different ages and circumstances. Perhaps 20th century assumptions are being questioned - that you get the best of town and country in a suburb, with a costly car for each adult. The number of schemes for new houses and flats near the town centre suggests a change is happening - there are projects for Electric House, Lower Brook Street, Rope Walk, St Margaret's Plain, the Wine Rack, Mather Way, Museum Street in due course and a little further out at Hadleigh Road with the biggest still to come at Grafton Way. However, it must be admitted that the Northern Fringe development will outnumber all these put together, even if it is an old-fashioned concept!
High Street Museum and the adjoining Art School Gallery are now open on Sundays, as is Christchurch Mansion. We hope this will prove helpful to people who are unable to visit during the week - especially if it attracts more visitors from other places.
Which new shops should set up here?
It was reassuring to hear the common sense approach of Ipswich Central's Chairman, Terry Baxter, and the Borough Council's leader, David Ellesmere, on this subject. The former said, “I know people want us to bring in big department stores like they have in Norwich and Cambridge, but Ipswich is not the same as those places.” Ellesmere said, “We have looked at the centres just above us in the Experian ratings, at the [shops] they have and we do not. There is no point in trying to attract businesses that are only interested in the largest cities or towns.” (Ipswich town centre is ranked 56th in the UK for retailing, as assessed by Experian, the industry rating company.)