One-Ipswich Draft Sustainable Community Strategy

In June 2007 the Local Strategic Partnership, one-Ipswich, launched a consultation on its new draft sustainable community strategy. One-Ipswich is made up of key organisations from the public, voluntary, community and business sectors to work together towards delivering shared outcomes for the residents and communities within Ipswich.

The consultation document sets out the vision for Ipswich over the next ten years and what the partnership will do to turn this vision into reality. In the foreword one-Ipswich chair, Liz Harsant, highlights the development of Ipswich into the fastest growing urban centre in the East of England, whose present population of 130,000 is set to exceed 150,000 within the next 15 years, with around a third of a million people living in its immediate catchment area. The town is a key player in Regional Cities East and Haven Gateway Partnership (with Growth Point status). Ipswich is also a centre for sport, entertainment and culture: indeed it is a multi-cultural centre with more than sixty languages spoken in the town.

But Ipswich also has major problems with crime and disorder, drugs, prostitution, poor health, sub-standard housing, poor transport links and congestion. All these problems need to be addressed. After listening to public opinion and having gathered facts and figures, the one-Ipswich Board has agreed to focus on delivering the following outcomes.


  1. Everyone should have a roof over their head.

With more people coming to Ipswich to live, work and study, there will be a growing demand for affordable homes and social rented housing. This will be addressed by exploring how housing can be regenerated at and above first floor level in Ipswich, and developing projects to address the impact of new housing on services.


  1. For people to enjoy good health.

The death rate among residents under 75 in the Town and Bridge Wards is over double the rate in the country as a whole, and there is a significant relationship between deprivation and the proportion of people with mental health. The partnership must therefore address the mental health and well-being of adults, young people and their carers, tackle teenage pregnancy and to improve the efficiency of the way partners work to improve health and care services.

  1. There is work for all.

Ipswich will require a workforce that has the right type of qualifications, skills and abilities to fit the changing profile of the economy. This requires improving access to information about learning opportunities for adults, changing attitudes to skills and training development where take-up of education and training is especially low, and improving engagement between the business community and further education establishment by setting up a mentoring scheme for business to work more closely with schools.


  1. Create a better environment for people in Ipswich.

New growth will bring new demand for public services and leisure, sports and cultural facilities. Ipswich residents have identified traffic congestion, public transport and green issues, including recycling, as priority areas for improvement. The partnership will therefore seek to address how to cope with growth, attract inward investment to strengthen the economy of Ipswich, improve transport connections with other regional cities and the rest of the UK, collectively address issues relating to transport and service infrastructure, tackle climate change, create planning policy to address parking issues and promote recycling.


  1. Keeping people safe

Ipswich currently accounts for 30% of all crime and 38% of all anti-social behaviour incidents in Suffolk and Domestic Violence accounts for over 40% of violent crime in Ipswich. There is a specific problem relating to Class A drugs by London-based offenders. The vibrant night-time economy in Ipswich presents another series of challenges and the number of incidents of recorded crime attributed to alcohol is above the national average. The partnership will therefore support ‘Operation Academy’ which is aimed at drug and crime issues with particular emphasis on wider community issues in the Borough, and promote positive management of the night time economy by working with businesses and communities to address violence and anti-social behaviour.


  1. People live in friendly and supportive communities and have a greater say.

Engaging communities is integral to delivering the community strategy. The Area Forum structure provides regular public meetings and ‘street-meets’ are arranged to listen to what people think are the most important issues and what we should do about them. Neighbourhood policing is also vital in responding to issues at local level, and the partnership will therefore seek to ensure new communities are better integrated in Ipswich while the needs of existing residents continue to be addressed. The partnership will seek to improve access to services for all communities and ensure that Safer Neighbourhood Teams, Area Forums and Children’s Clusters work together in a more sophisticated way; improve the quality and accessibility of information for the people of Ipswich; develop more ways for giving people a voice through better democratic engagement; and provide facilities and activities for young people.


The consultation ran from mid-June to 7 September by means of workshops and through documentation on the website for one-Ipswich ( inviting on-line comments. It is unfortunate that these dates did not allow this consultation to be drawn to Ipswich Society members’ attention but this will not be the end of the process. The next stage will be to define realistic goals for the short medium and long terms at local and strategic levels.

Area Forums will provide a valuable means for ongoing consultation in the process, though readers of the last two Newsletters will perhaps appreciate the potential synergy between this initiative and the issues I have highlighted in my ’Change the Weather’ articles. While the process is clearly open to all residents of Ipswich, I wonder if there is perhaps a role for the Ipswich Society as a resource for consultation on matters of particular relevance to the Society in parallel with Area Forums, street-meets and other mechanisms proposed under Outcome 6 above. If you agree and would be interested in participating in such a possibility please contact me.

Mike Brain