The above acronym, Ipswich Transport Fit for the 21st Century, doesn't seem to be used so much now. Perhaps the ongoing work this year has created so much bad feeling that people don't like to associate it with what looks like 'Ipswich Town Football Club'! Road works holding up motorists and the re-building of the two bus stations inconveniencing passengers will be largely forgotten next year. Then, hopefully, we shall all benefit from the improvements. One improvement seldom referred to is treating pedestrians like human beings, and not herding them into railed off sections at road crossings, e.g. at 'Hyde Park Corner' (St Matthew's Street / Crown Street) where it's much more open for pedestrians.
The football ground has been registered by its owners, the Borough Council, as an Asset of Community Value. So if ever a future Council wanted to sell it they would have to give the local community 'first refusal' for six months. All this is rather hypothetical but it should be another layer of protection against what has happened at some other football clubs, where the clubs own their grounds. A potential buyer of the club is attracted by its 'real estate' value, sells the land to a supermarket and builds a new football ground outside the town where most supporters would have to travel by car. We should value the ideal location of Portman Road between the railway station and the town centre.
The death of the local?
Three local public houses are being converted into supermarkets - The Emperor in Norwich Road: Tesco, The Golden Key, Woodbridge Road: Sainsbury, now open and Heathlands, Foxhall Road: Tesco. How many more branches of these giant grocers do we need? Who would have thought that when John James Sainsbury opened his first shop in Drury Lane in 1869, when Jack Cohen started his first Hackney market stall in 1919, when Frank Asda started (OK, OK...), that their power in the land by the twenty-first century would be so dominant, both in shopping and in planning terms. We now face the destruction of, most significantly, the relief characters 'Tolly Cobbold' (the last of its kind in the town) and 'The Emperor Inn' and the art deco windows 'Smoke Room' and 'Saloon' at the Golden Key.
The B&Q store on Ransomes Europark is to divide into two separate shop units. B&Q will continue to operate but the greater part of the store will be a new food store for Morrison's. The reason is that B&Q are downsizing, their latest results show turnover down, profits down and a company that needs 20% fewer stores.
Ian Cheshire, Chief Executive since 2005 has said it can maintain turnover and market share with less space and fewer stores. B&Q currently have 651 stores in Britain and Ireland and they are negotiating with supermarkets to take approximately half the floor area in their larger superstores. So far they have planning permission for 18 conversions but most planning authorities are resisting the change on the basis that they do not want any more out-of-town comparison outlets (supermarkets). B&Q are also in talks with the restaurant chains and coffee houses to take a proportion of their smaller stores. Good news for the residents of east Ipswich who will be able to food shop the length of Ransomes Way choosing between Sainsbury's, Waitrose, B&M, Morrison's, Lidl and the Co-op.