The Government launched a scheme last year to revive High Streets, following the Mary Portas report. They made £1 million available and towns were invited to bid for a share of the funding. The 'Future High Street X-Fund' judging panel visited Ipswich and heard about the competition to redesign the Cornhill, transform Blackfriars (Fore Street area) and improve the Saints (St Nicholas and St Peter's Streets). They were clearly impressed with the efforts so far.
The Government recognised that Ipswich was trying to revitalise its town centre, against the impact of the recession and the change in shopping habits and awarded us £168,000 for the 'Turning Our Town Around' initiative.
David Ellesmere, leader of the Borough Council, said that "it is towns that are bold about change which will weather these challenges best." The national press has been somewhat more sceptical about the sums involved suggesting that £168,000 is so small it cannot possibly make any difference. Let's prove them wrong!