It has only been two months since the lockdown Ipswich Society Special Newsletter was published and things have been pretty much on hold since then, but there are signs of life picking up again and some of it is very positive.

Paul Geater wrote in the Ipswich Star:

‘Ipswich Central chairman Terry Baxter said the main aim of members was to create an atmosphere in the town centre where shoppers and visitors could feel secure.

‘He said: “Everyone knows we won’t immediately get back to how we were before the coronavirus came in. At the start we are expecting that people will be quite cautious about coming out to the town centre and we all understand that.”

“We may need to put in markings on the road or even make smaller streets one-way only for pedestrians to ensure it is possible to keep social distancing regulations.” ’

Hank’s Vegan Deli and Shop has opened in the former Maplin premises in Carr Street. They have had a Café and Deli in Lloyds Avenue and recently took over the former Grinning Rat pub on St Helen’s Street where they opened Hank’s Pub and Food.

Most of the building projects have recommenced but are now considerably delayed. The Hold on Fore Street is in progress again, now with its name adorning the façade. The Cornhill is a hive of activity as the old Post Office is restorated and cleaned up; also the Cornhill remedial work, which includes extra handrails incorporating bespoke planters, progresses. Scaffolding has gone up on the former Burtons/Dorothy Perkins building as it is given a spruce up before Deichmann shoes move in later this year.

The future of theatres is a bit vague at the moment but work has started again on ‘Theatre Square’ as the construction of the Golden Pavilion beside the New Wolsey Theatre continues which includes refreshed surfacing to the whole area.

Work continues repairing Wherry Quay ahead of the moored floating restaurant, Mariners.

With £3.4 million coming from the Heritage Lottery Fund it is still hoped the Broomhill Lido restoration will continue.

Plans have been put forward for a new multi-storey car park near Portman Road on the former livestock market behind AXA. This is intended to help the continued development of the growing business corridor along Princes Street where IBC hopes to build another office block on the former Botwoods site, recently a car wash. Meanwhile, according to local media, Travelodge have shown an interest in the former Drum and Monkey site for a new hotel. AXA, Willis and SCC already have multi-storey car parks for their staff and customers.

Selig Suffolk, a local charity run by a group of churches in the town, has applied for permission to turn the former Victoria pub (once The Queen’s Head) by St. Matthews roundabout into a new night shelter and offices for the group.

The owners of the former Carr Street Argos building are hoping to convert the space into flats and a gym, if a planning application submitted to the Borough Council is approved.

Tim Leggett

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