Reading the last Ipswich Society Newsletter I thought I'd contribute an article from a youth perspective about the county town of Suffolk we know so well. For my generation, Ipswich shops are pretty decent. It's no Oxford Street but it still has a lot to offer. People from Colchester and other towns surrounding us often come to Ipswich as we have a wide range of shops which other towns may not have and therefore they are attracted to Ipswich.
We are still attracting new shops such as Paperchase and White Stuff which are new faces to Ipswich and have been warmly welcomed by 10Gals. JD Sports has moved into the old Zavvi building, leaving yet another vacancy down the Regent end of town. Ipswich is forever changing, which is a wonderful thing as we don't want to get stuck in our ways!
There is a problem though. Apart from Poundland, there is not a lot to encourage people down the Regent end of town in comparison to the town centre. As we have lost Woolworths and the Co-op we are losing interest in that end of town. The way forward purely from my point of view is to develop the old Odeon into something fantastic in order to draw people from the town centre. This would encourage new shops, cafes and such. What to do with the old Odeon is however another article! There were rumours of another cinema, a shopping mall or a bowling rink. I personally thought the bowling rink would be a brilliant plan as something to do on those cold boring moments in town.
More things to do in Ipswich seem crucial as at the moment shopping and the cinema are the main options. Having roller skating or ice skating would be a definite popular attraction. But it's purely a question of space and funds. Over the Christmas period we do turn the car park opposite the football ground into an ice rink but this is only for a month or so. A more permanent thing would be best to entertain locals and tourists.
A couple of months ago, a friend and I went on a tourist route of Ipswich. We visited the Museum, Christchurch Mansion and had lunch in the park. These things are clearly underestimated by people of my generation but are a brilliant slot filler for a dull day.
The Ipswich docks have really developed into a lovely place to be on a Sunday morning!
It has a range of cafes and places to eat. Walking around the docks is very peaceful and has an exotic feel about it, slightly like a Spanish marina. Dance East and the university have brought new genres of people down to the docks, which is a short walk from the town.
Transport into and around Ipswich is regular and reliable and is frequently used by locals and people from out of town. Buses are probably the most common form of transport after cars and therefore having a good bus system is necessary. Ipswich train station is just under a half hour walk from the town centre and is frequently used by people coming into Ipswich who live a while away.
I think that clearly Ipswich is an underestimated town. I wouldn't want to live here for ever, but I sure am going to defend it when a boy in my science class says (in not so many words) that it's awful.