It has been twenty months since the pandemic struck and life, as we knew it, changed forever.  The difficulty we now face is how many steps forward into the future do we take?  And for an organisation like The Ipswich Society, how willing our members are to step forward with us.

Are sufficient members prepared to commit to sit on a coach with fifty others, to sit in a lecture room breathing the same air as everyone else?  The feedback I am getting is 'soon, but not just yet'.  Our proposal is an Awards Evening in November, providing you send the Hon. Secretary – details p.27 – your nomination(s).  Let us know what is new or renovated in your neighbourhood, have there been any works to the public realm or has your local school had an extension?

The Awards evening will take place in the university’s new, large lecture theatre within The Hold, one of the first public meetings to be held in that space.

It has been interesting to witness the changes and developments in Ipswich throughout the pandemic; as we are all aware, some major players have disappeared from the high street but I am reassured by the number of new retailers that have opened, notably in Carr Street.  For the most part these are independents which add interest and variety to the shopping experience.

The disappointment has been the number of vehicles on the road, the hope in the middle of the pandemic was that habits would change, particularly the take up of cycling for short journeys. The Government, through Suffolk County Council, made a substantial investment in cycling infrastructure (not all well spent) but as we get out and about it is obvious that there are more vehicles on the road than there were in 2019.

A further disappointment was the decision by Ipswich Borough Council's planning committee to allow the demolition of the Co-operative buildings in Carr Street, notably the 1908 building on the corner with Cox Lane.  There is no justification for this illogical decision; there is more than sufficient space behind the store to build a dozen schools, space that has been largely undeveloped since the slum clearances of the 1930s.

We know that there is little point in trying to get things changed at the committee meeting but we have been pointing out alternatives to the developers since the beginning of the year.  The consultants invited comments on their proposals using a variety of different channels including the local paper.  All to no avail. The mosaic (see p. 14) will, hopefully, be saved and  moved into storage with the other ‘works of art’ saved from Civic Centre and Eastern Electricity’s Russell House.

We think that the latest changes the architects made to the elevations just before the committee meeting are a retrograde step. ‘Each for All & All for Each’ will be written in two metre high letters around the top of the new school.

John Norman

Central Ipswich Primary School, Carr Street: architect’s visual.

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