From the blog

Ipswich – A gateway town

BY PAUL CLEMENT

Time is often said to pass slowly and it often seems constantly against us. Time lost whilst travelling or commuting somehow seems more valuable than any other.

We forget the advantages of living in a place located as Ipswich is. We are just over an hour from the capital by train, clinic an hour by car from one of the UK’s most sought after tourist cities in Cambridge, pills and 50 minutes from Stansted and, see therefore, a gateway to Europe. This is all in addition to the splendid county in which we sit. With planned improvements to road and rail in the region, journey times should reduce still further.

With property prices escalating in London – and demand for spill-out accommodation outside the capital growing – we can now, justifiably, claim to be part of a commuter-belt, not just for London, but for European cities as well. And, all the feedback from people moving here is that they love Ipswich.

So, what could go wrong?

The biggest restraint on Ipswich’s commuter-belt role could be availability of suitable housing stock. Within Greater Ipswich, and particularly in and around the town centre, we will require more accommodation for young professionals that is not just on the Waterfront, splendid though that location is. In addition, we will need more family housing as new occupants move up the property ladder.

The history of development in major towns and cities, not just nationally but internationally, is littered with examples of the catalyst being strong commitments to more people living close to the commercial and economic core – the rail station, the big employers, the shops, the bars, the restaurants, the theatres and so on. On the back of this, fresh commercial activity blossoms as new businesses and venues relocate. In turn, new local job opportunities start to provide an alternative for commuters. And so it continues…

We have a tremendous opportunity ahead of us. Ipswich should not be slow in promoting itself as a gateway town, but it needs to be serious about its intent to deliver.

This article appeared in the Ipswich Star on Thursday 14 May 2015.