The Tour of Britain, the country's biggest professional cycling race, will start at the Waterfront on 9 September. The 'Grand Depart' will be a good advertisement for the town, the Waterfront especially. This will also be one of the Heritage Open Days - so, busy there!
Fraser's former department store, now offices originally converted by Royal Sun Alliance, is available to rent, together with the adjoining Maple Court. (Fraser's sold out to Maple's.) Both fine buildings, coincidentally, were on the cover of our April Newsletter.
The new Travelodge in Duke Street should open soon. And the building of the Premier Travel Inn in Key Street (next to St Mary at Quay) is under way. They should be useful for visitors coming for leisure activities and for connections with UCS and Suffolk New College.
Ransomes Jacobsen based in Ransomes Europark at least keeps one famous Ipswich name going. A top golf course in Spain is buying Ransomes equipment which they consider to be the best available. Let's hope there'll be enough euros to pay for it!"
County Hall (St Helen's Street) and Cliff Brewery (ex-Tolly Cobbold) have had to be put on the national list of 'Buildings at Risk'. Sad news for IBC which had reduced' At Risk' buildings so successfully. But it's hard to envisage how County Hall could be re- used: and converting the brewery into flats is difficult but the latest news sounds promising.
Red Rose Chain has received nearly £1m from the Heritage Lottery Fund for its new theatre and heritage centre at Gippeswyk Hall (corner of Ancaster Road and Birkfield Drive). A well deserved award for an adventurous and socially valuable company.
Chantry High School: There is similarly good news that the school will be re-built on site within the next 2-3 years - although it's sad that buildings (only) 50 years old need replacing.
Grimwade's (as older members will all remember it) on the Cornhill is now" empty after Clinton Cards' financial problems. Clinton's never seemed a suitable occupant for such a notable building but it's better used than empty. Let's hope a good tenant can be found soon.
Carr Street Co-op department store, vacant for over a year, is at least getting some partial use now as a second-hand furniture shop for Age UK. These huge premises are a reminder of the sad demise of town centre department stores.
Cinemas in the Buttermarket shopping centre? This follows on from the 'Short' above. After successive closures of Owen Owen, Allders and TJ Hughes, the multi-storey area built for department store use is apparently being considered as a venue for a multi- screen cinema.
Azerbaijan athletes will not be staying and training in Ipswich after all. Not enough of their competitors reached the Olympics qualifying standards. The Ipswich Star couldn't resist the headline 'AzerBYEjan' on 15 May. However, gymnasts from Brazil will be here.
The numbers of rail passengers continue to increase. Ipswich station users rose by 8.3% last year. The biggest increases were on the Ipswich-Cambridge route, which goes to show that upgrading trains from the very poor to the more adequate pays off.