Well, we now have a new Government. Local elections have resulted in an even narrower gap between the Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration and Labour - now only two seats difference. What we can be sure about is hard times ahead, both nationally and locally. One important change has already happened: the proposed unitary authorities in both Suffolk and Norfolk are officially dead. Things will stay as they are in local government.
The Tesco development in Grafton Way is now proceeding, having received planning permission by one vote, so we shall have to wait to see its impact on town centre businesses and town centre traffic.
On 17 April there was held at DCS on the Waterfront an event organised by the East of England Civic Societies. The theme was 'Rivers in Towns' and some forty members attended representing most civic societies in the East of England together with those representing other groups such as the Environment Agency. There were ten presentations, all of which were well received. The event was hosted and chaired by The Ipswich Society.
Our 50th birthday year is now well advanced and I hope you are able to attend at least some of the events planned. The year should end in December with a members' dinner. The AGM in our birthday year was held in April in the atrium of Suffolk New College and over a hundred members attended. Jonathan Glancey, architectural correspondent of The Guardian, gave a very lively and illuminating talk and there was a useful question and answer session to end. People remarked how impressed they were with the facilities at the New College.
It has been gratifying to note that we have had a greater presence in the local media this year owing partly to our special birthday events and clearly also to the efforts of our Publicity Officer, Pat Grimwade.
Our Blue Plaques scheme is progressing well. There are now thirteen plaques put up by The Ipswich Society, and they are well set out in our new leaflet, complete with a map of their locations. Do get a copy - free from the Committee, Tourist Information Centre and other places.
Finally, a few words to you, our members. I have been concerned of late to note how many articles in the Newsletter are written by Committee members. Whilst it is reasonable to assume that they have rather more expertise, I am sure there are many of you who have interesting points of view which you could share with other members. You do write letters from time to time, but it would be great to see some articles, long or short, on any subject which affects the quality of life of Ipswichians. You are The Ipswich Society - let us hear from you.