From the blog

Ipswich is moving in the right direction

BY PAUL CLEMENT

The announcement made in the Ipswich Star of all parties having agreed on the Vision for Ipswich is extremely important.

For as long as I can remember, anabolics the organisations responsible for delivering change to the town centre have pursued their own – often quite different – proposals. Now, medicine | there is one plan and a common purpose amongst us all to get on and deliver it.

We circulated a serious of drafts between everyone in the weeks and days leading up to the final sign-off. The discussions involved new ways of thinking and some compromises on all sides but, diagnosis throughout, there was a tangible sense of partnership and a clear desire to end up, together, in the same place.

In the same week, we announced that we were to create a Destination Management Organisation (DMO) to improve the offer and appeal of Ipswich as a visitor destination. There is significant potential available to us by boosting visitor numbers, particularly if we embrace and build upon the Suffolk brand.

Experts have assessed both proposals. Amongst other eye-watering statistics are that a boost in visitors could generate an additional £48 million a year and that a better town centre experience could extend visits by one hour, bringing in another £23 million a year. The Vision is not just about new offices and shops, it would also create 2,000 new homes and these new residents alone could boost retail sales by £1.5 million a year.

This is not tinkering around at the margins; it is real, substantive change that will mean more jobs in more businesses.

The twin announcements of the Vision and the DMO have been broadly welcomed by the 625 town centre businesses that we represent. They have waited a long time for this moment – now, we must all deliver!

A similar article appeared in Business East (East Anglian Daily Times) on Tuesday 21 July.