So Much Going On

I’ve so often written about the huge changes occurring in our town that I’m reluctant to do so yet again, but I’ll be brief. In any case if you do get out and about, you can’t miss seeing the new buildings and fresh starts. For instance, the five tower cranes on the Waterfront, the tallest 86m, can easily be seen from many parts of the town centre. (They might even help to convince sceptics that the Waterfront is only a short walk away!) I remember counting forty-seven tower cranes from the roof of the then recently re-opened Reichstag in Berlin. Well, Ipswich isn’t being re-built on quite the scale of Berlin, but pro rata it might compete!

Jack Chapman’s Chairman’s article describes some of these developments. The only point I’ll add about the Waterfront is that in the nature of how we do things in Britain the progress is piecemeal. All these obvious brownfield sites will be built on eventually but during this transition period we still have the burnt out St Peters Warehouse and the last remaining concrete silo at the west end, and the two big gaps between Neptune Marina and Orwell Quay, where the restaurant that has just been built will be isolated from the renewed parts of the quayside. This latter situation illustrates the unpredictability of development progress because in the Ipswich Wet Dock Development Framework drawn up by Llewelyn-Davies nine years ago it was anticipated that the old gas works site on Orwell Quay would be the last part to be built on, but now it’s all finished before the two adjoining sites have even been started. I hope I live to see it all completed!

The July Newsletter I am pleased to say evoked quite a lot of response. A number of members said how useful the diagrammatic map of the Waterfront has been. And the article about the eight streets in Ipswich named after leading abolitionists of the slave trade has been passed on to other interested parties elsewhere.

The Borough Council’s successful bid for unitary status is put in its historical context by Bill Serjeant in his article in this Newsletter. As you know, all three political parties on the Borough Council supported this bid. The town should benefit in a number of ways – how, and how much, time will tell. At present, however, I don’t understand why Norwich must extend its boundaries into its hinterland before it wins independence, whereas Ipswich, much the same size as Norwich and similarly limited by its historical boundaries, has not been expected to absorb the immediately adjoining urban areas. Is it because Ipswich is growing faster than Norwich? Is the Government doing us a favour – or a disservice in the long run?

Jack Chapman also refers to the Film Theatre. I should like to endorse what he says about supporting this valuable cinema in Ipswich. Although regretting that the Borough Council has privatised the Film Theatre, with the inevitable reduction in the number and variety of quality films shown, the fact still remains we do have an alternative to Cineworld. Hollywood Film Theatre in the Corn Exchange will show many worthy films that won’t go to Cineworld. Moreover, Cinema One has been refurbished with new seating and a pleasant ambience.

Altogether, these are interesting times indeed! I hope you agree that the Ipswich Society helps you keep abreast of what is happening in our changing town. If you have views on these changes or any other subject relevant to our society, please let me have letters, articles, drawings and anything else for the next Newsletter by 20 November.

Neil Salmon