Ten ways to improve Ipswich town centre
without spending three million pounds
- Ban vehicles from the main shopping street when it is busy with pedestrians, i.e. between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm seven days per week. Vehicles prohibited should include security vans, cash delivery and shop fitters; any excuse they could have used back in the 1980s no longer holds and they can access the premises late afternoon, overnight and early morning. Or put simply: enforce the current vehicle ban!
- Make Arras Square a 'no parking' zone and include St Stephen's Lane; we have seen at least one private car parked in this square throughout the working day on a regular basis.
- Resurface pedestrianised streets in their 'original' material (that is, as surfaced following pedestrianisation in 1986). The use of temporary tarmac or bricks of the wrong colour is unacceptable in the street scene.
- Introduce on-the-spot fines for private cars using Dogs Head Street and Upper Brook Street and run a campaign of implementation. Again, simply enforce the current vehicle ban.
- Introduce a policy of residential development in the town centre; encourage people to live close to where they work, where they shop and where they spend their leisure time. Examples could be the conversion of the Great White Horse Hotel into flats, County Hall into apartments and new homes on Cox Lane car park and the Civic Centre site.
- Reconsider the bus routes through the town; recent temporary changes have demonstrated that alternative routes work (even if moving bus stops is more problematic). Remove buses from Museum Street, the Queen Street loop and from Upper Brook Street.
- Sort out a common policy for cycling on town centre streets (currently the Butter Market and Tavern Street have different rules) and enforce it. There should be no need to cycle along busy pedestrian streets in the middle of the day (see 1 above).
- Retailers, restaurants and pubs: enforce removal of their large rubbish bins from the lanes and passageways immediately following collection and leave the public highway clear of obstruction until the next collection day. If they have no space on their own premises for their own rubbish then they are operating from the wrong location.
- Introduce legislation that prevents retailers obstructing the highway with 'A' boards. Fascia signs and protruding signs above the shop are subject to planning legislation. An 'A' board in the highway is an obstruction to the free flow of pedestrians, particularly those members of the community who are visually impaired or have mobility difficulties. All such signs should be subject to similar planning constraints.
- Spend a little money on the necessary repairs and maintenance of the Cornhill, install an underground low voltage electricity supply for market stall holders and consider a different market layout to encourage pedestrians off the 'golden mile'.
John Norman, Chairman