As I write these words summer, such as we have had, is giving way to autumn. Perhaps we can hope for an Indian Summer? It is traditionally a quiet period but this year the economic slowdown has accentuated the trend. Developments at the end of the northern quays - the old Cranfield's and Paul's sites - have seen no work for some time and developers going into administration. I'm afraid the future looks no brighter for them. The recent Maritime Ipswich weekend, in contrast, was a great success and the public came in large numbers. Much praise for the organisers.
The Tesco development on Grafton Way has not yet begun because of a legal challenge, although it had looked likely to start very soon. Whether fears about an adverse impact on the town centre shops are fulfilled remains to be seen.
There are two other very important schemes in the pipe line. Waitrose have submitted an application for one of their smaller stores within the Corn Exchange. It would have a new entrance on Princes Street and occupy space where the Robert Cross Hall, Gatsby's and the Limelight Bar are situated. The Grand Hall and the Film Theatre will not be affected directly, but internal changes cause some to worry. To address this problem, perhaps bringing the Town Hall into the equation (which already has access from the Corn Exchange) could help. I feel sure that with good will on all sides a successful solution can be agreed, which would satisfy the Film Theatre and the Ipswich Arts Association on the one hand and Waitrose and IBC on the other.
A successful solution would mean Ipswich would have a very popular venue for concerts, other events and a very successful Film Theatre and a very desirable town centre Waitrose. Much hard work lies ahead.
Away from the town centre the very large Crane's site on Nacton Road is proving of great interest to John Lewis, who want to build a Home and Family store there. A planning application has not yet been submitted but their interest is high. Currently zoned for industrial use, change of use consent would have to be given. And it is such a large site that there would be much land left for industrial use or perhaps housing.
On 29 June, the date Ipswich received its Charter 800 years ago, the statue to Cardinal Wolsey was unveiled amid much pageant. A procession walked from St Mary le Tower to the statue's site at the bottom of Silent Street. Many were in costume and accompanied by musicians. An actor played the Cardinal and there was support from a number of local representatives, including John Blatchly who had headed the whole effort.
Planning is currently going on for our next Awards evening on 9 November. The shadows on the economy are (not surprisingly) reflected in the number of nominations we have received. The Executive Committee debated whether to suspend awards for this year but as more nominations started to come in - some of them substantial projects - we decided to go ahead with a somewhat reduced field. I hope it will be an interesting and enjoyable evening.