Records to move
Suffolk County Council's decision to create a new Record Office in the County Town was welcomed at the time (rather than a possible move to the geographical centre of the county). The offices in Bury and Lowestoft will remain open but the main focus will be on moving from Gatacre Road to a new Record Office and Heritage Centre on the Waterfront close to UCS - which has given one million pounds and the site for the project. The Heritage Lottery Fund has granted £538,000 to SCC to draw up the plans. This seems a lot to pay for ‘plans' but it surely means that HLF is all the more likely to follow up with a further ten million pounds to complete the scheme, which will also include exhibition space and a 200 seat auditorium. It will be called ‘The Hold', a neat name which should be easy to remember, as long as it's not confused with part of a ship.
Big new name
The other really good news from the Waterfront is that UCS has won the right to become the University of Suffolk It will be able to award its own degrees, no longer depending on UEA or Essex. It will receive direct Government funding and should be able to expand its teaching, its numbers of students and its international appeal.
Growth and pay
Ipswich has been ranked 10th out of 62 cities and large towns with good private sector job growth. But only seven other areas had lower average wages - an awkward factor when considering how to improve the range and quality of shops in town.
Threats to street scene
BhS is the kind of semi-department store likely to struggle in today's cut-throat retailing, even without the scandalous behaviour of the two previous owners. Clearly, sympathy should go to the staff who face an uncertain future. From the Society's point of view, that part of Butter Market could do without empty premises since it's a very long frontage, where three or four shops have been knocked into one. And that will be part of the problem for any owners or tenants because we are so often told that modern retailers are looking for simple ‘big boxes', not difficult floor levels and awkward angles.
The future of Princes Street
The Drum and Monkey (formerly The Sporting Farmer) has closed. This opens up more possibility for new development. The Borough Council owns the land. The site adjoining is already planned for development as offices, and across the road Birketts Solicitors will be moving into a purpose-built office block. Nearer the railway station, the former Fisons block is being re-modelled for office use again and The Malthouse could also become office-type accommodation. People might complain that the town doesn't need new offices when older ones stand empty, but businesses choose to move to where they think it will be advantageous. And it's hard to dispute that a major street running from the town centre to the station is a natural hub for office-based businesses.
Carrier bag armageddon
If the East of England Co-op hadn't ceased giving away free carrier bags in 2008 they would by now have surpassed 100 million.