On the buses
Ipswich Corporation started running the town's tram network in 1903. A specially gold painted bus has been in service for some months commemorating the centenary. The main celebration will be held on Sunday, 13 July - an open day on Ipswich Town's practice pitch just across the road from the Constantine Road bus depot. Ipswich Buses don't rest on their laurels however. That depot will close next year and the site will become part of a big redevelopment area for houses and offices as part of Ipswich Village. A new bus depot will be built on the former Harris bacon factory at Hadleigh Road industrial estate.
New steel for the law
It's not a peculiar obsession with big steel frames which has led the Newsletter to feature so many in recent issues. There really are a lot of new buildings going up. Whole areas of the town wouldn't be recognisable to someone returning after a few years of absence. Many new buildings are fairly ordinary. The new Crown Court could well be more striking when finished. It's a 4-storey construction which will include five courts, waiting rooms, coffee bars, etc. It looks so big that one hopes it's not in anticipation of large increases in numbers of criminals!
New brochures to catch the eye
The Society's colourful new brochure was introduced in April. It is to attract the attention of possible new members and make the Society better known in the town. So in some ways it's not relevant to you, existing members. However, if you'd like some to show to friends, members of the Committee would be pleased to supply you. The Borough Council for its part has produced a particularly good new version of their annual "Ipswich & District" brochure with little articles about "My Ipswich" by different local people. Your Committee took the unusual step of writing to James Hehir, IBCs Chief Executive, to congratulate the Borough's Design and Communications Unit for the quality of their work.
Grassing it over
It's good to see a planning application in for St Nicholas churchyard. In fact, it's part of the application to convert the church into the Diocesan resource centre, "including landscaping of northern churchyard". If approved, the churchyard will lose the concrete paving which has been an attraction for skateboarders who have damaged tombstones and created rubbish and noise. Let's hope they will use the new facilities provided at the Stoke Bridge skateboard park.
Thanks to the Council for spending our money
No, that's not sarcastic! It's a welcome for the repairs to the Town Hall. The scaffolding is not exactly a tourist attraction for the summer months but the work needed doing urgently. Those who took part in IBC's Scrutiny Committee consultations heard alarming reports on the state of the building - the roof and the masonry. Ad hoc repairs have been made over recent years but cost cutting had prevented a continuing maintenance regime. Half a million pounds has been allocated in each of the next four years for essential repairs and improvements to the Town Hall and Com Exchange. They may not be the most celebrated buildings in town but because of their location and history they are the most important, and can't be neglected if there's any civic pride!
Don't forget that Pykenham's Gatehouse will be open on the first Saturday of the month, i.e. 2 August, 6 September, 4 October, I November. The hours of opening 10.30 am till noon.
Good food in The Stables
The Stables Restaurant in the restored old stable block in Chantry Park has been warmly commended by members. It makes a most pleasant stopping-off place when exploring Chantry Park, the only one of our parks with such a facility. It is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 5pm and offers excellent value-for-money fare - morning coffee, lunches and afternoon teas.