Editorial: a good year for some, but not all
A number of people have commented on the effectiveness of Brian Jepson's colour cover design for the last Newsletter. The contrast of distinguished buildings both old and new illustrated the Society's interest in both the past and the present. Incidentally, how many of us had noticed that 'cut-off' roof-line of the Ancient House?
The launch of this special year for the Society took place at the Tourist Information Centre on Wednesday, 7 April in the presence of our President, the Mayor, Councillor David Goldsmith, and invited guests. It was also the first exhibition of our splendid new banners which you will see at later Society events.
The recession and various other factors (not least on-line shopping) are not being kind to our town centre. The collapse of Vergo is worrying. The row of six big buildings in Carr Street - stores which still belong to the East of England Co-operative Society but were taken over by Vergo - will take some filling! If it's true that the huge Tesco Extra on Grafton Way will put paid to foreseeable re-development of the Civic Centre and the Mint Quarter, we could console ourselves that these sites are at least relatively hidden. But the Co-op buildings in Carr Street are such a visible part of the street scene and constant reminders of better days.
One wonders whether town centres everywhere will have to shrink in the years to come. But I've no idea how that could happen without threatening many fine buildings and the variety of historical styles which characterise a British town.
The change of Government will affect planning matters. So-called 'garden grabbing' will probably be harder to achieve. And large scale housing developments, much influenced hitherto by nationally set targets, will be increasingly questioned. In Ipswich, for example, one wonders what effect this will have on the 'Northern Fringe' in the medium term. SE England with a growing population needs more houses but we don't know where to put them!
I shall be very pleased to receive articles, letters or drawings for the next issue by 20 August.