There are a number of areas of Ipswich that cry out for improvement and probably have a greater claim on the £3 million we intend to spend on the Cornhill to attract visitors and provide a better environment for residents and those who work here. Upper Orwell Street and St Peter's Wharf have been mentioned in previous editions of the Newsletter.
Today I single out Crown Street from St. Matthew's Street roundabout to the back of the Odeon with St Margaret's Street being a particular eyesore. I'm not sure what can be done, given that the property presenting a poor appearance to the passing public is in private ownership but given that the majority of visitors, and locals in their cars or on the bus travel along the route every day it is time we collectively sought solutions.
Of particular concern is the former nightclub Bar Fontaine between Old Foundry Road and St Margaret's Street, a Grade II listed building that hasn't been used for twenty years. I understand that there is a conservation deficit on this property, that is unauthorised building work has been carried out and this will need to be put right before further improvements can happen. At the very least the facade to St Margaret's Plain could be tidied and repainted*
The long blue fence hiding the car wash opposite is the result of the Planning Appeal, the inspector determining that the commercial use of the site could continue providing it was hidden behind a new fence. How much better things were when we could see the front elevation of the Manor House.
Two of the three major office blocks on the north side of Crown Street between Hyde Park Corner and Crown Pools are empty, and the third, Crown House is actively looking for more tenants. I'm not sure there is an immediate solution for empty offices but the lack of activity, lights and people has a knock-on effect on town centre retail. If you have ideas for improvement or other examples of unloved Ipswich streets please drop a line to the editor.
Editor's Note. The hoardings have been repainted since John wrote this article