North-South versus East-West?
'Turning Our Town Around', Ipswich Central's vision of integrating the Waterfront with the town centre by creating a more north-south axis for future development, has won the top award at the national conference of Business Improvement Districts and won support from the Government's X-Fund. Meanwhile the Borough Council's consultants on future town centre development recommend the former Civic Centre site as being best for new retailing, which would re-emphasise the present east-west orientation. An unfortunate clash? Perhaps timing will make sense of it. The Civic Centre site may be the realistic immediate possibility. 'Turning the Town Around' will certainly take time - there are a lot of sites to acquire, demolish and re-develop between the Waterfront and the town centre before such an admirable vision is to be realised.
The Ipswich Star reported in September that the population of Ipswich increased from 117,200 to 133,400 during the last decade. Only Milton Keynes, Peterborough and Swindon have grown at a faster rate. All we need now are more jobs and more houses!
Growth and refurbishment
Insurance brokers Willis are recruiting post-A Level students from local schools and also re-locating some jobs to Ipswich from London. (Incidentally, isn't the Willis Building in London, just across the street from Richard Rogers' Lloyds Building and his new 'Cheesegrater' tower, the most handsome of all London's tall new office buildings?) Willis's present workforce of 1,350 in Ipswich is likely to increase. The company is also refurbishing its accommodation here.
An influential tiny minority
Removing the seats from the corner of Berners Street and St Matthew's Street may have been necessary to discourage the gathering of street drinkers. That follows on from the similar decision about the seats at the junction of Westgate Street and St Matthew's Street a year or two ago. A pity that the vast majority of townspeople are disadvantaged by a handful of others.
The administrators of Waterfront developments formerly funded by failed Irish banks have decided to sell the unfinished parts in three lots - the 23 story Mill Tower (Cranfield's site), the rest of the unfinished parts of Cranfield's, and the 'wine rack' unfinished tower on Regatta Quay (Paul's site). It was a surprise to learn that IBC had hoped to acquire all three as one lot. Whether it's one or three or whoever buys any of it, please get on with it!
The Greater Ipswich City Deal was a successful bid put together by Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and local councils. It means that £4m will be devolved by the Government for local decision-making to promote youth employment and skills for the workplace. Sounds good. Let's hear more about how it works out.