From the blog

Independent businesses rely on our high street to thrive

BY PAUL CLEMENT

Ipswich is nominating for its favourite independent businesses and you have until 4th September to register your vote.

Whether it’s a shop, adiposity a restaurant, therapy a beauty salon, pharmacy a take away, a cafe or anything else, every one of them adds something unique to our town centre. That’s why we run this promotion every year and why more and more people are taking part and voting – Ipswich Central values the town centre’s independent businesses and customers want to do something to show support for them.

There is still more we can do for this sector. One priority is to find lower-cost options for supporting retail entrepreneurs as they start up in business. Amongst today’s experimenters are tomorrow’s high street success stories.

However, when you speak to independent business owners they tell you that the strength of their sector needs the support of an ever-strengthening line-up of major high street names alongside it. After a long recession that has damaged many high streets, we are starting to bounce back well and current investment in the Sailmakers and Buttermarket schemes is a major boost. However, with the town having underachieved here for many years, we can’t now expect private landlords to resolve the town’s retail profile in isolation – the newly formed Ipswich Vision Board must start to take responsibility for this.

I don’t share the dull, boring, repetitive pessimism of some online critics. It’s easy to be critical when you can hide behind anonymity and will never be held accountable for your views. They have been wrong about no one ever buying and redeveloping Tower Ramparts (now Sailmakers) and wrong about no one buying and then finding a cinema operator for Buttermarket. They will be wrong again and again, so let’s not listen to them. In fact, let’s drown them out.

The way that absent high street retailers will be attracted to any town is if they are approached with positive messages of success and investment. We have those stories in abundance at present. Amongst them will be the winner of this year’s Independent Business of the Year.

Vote now at www.allaboutipswich.com/independents. Please help us to shout about their success from the rooftops and drown out the critics.