Business is booming at Anglia Retail Park (ARP), the one opposite ASDA, which is owned by Ipswich Borough Assets (IBA) a wholly owned subsidiary of Ipswich Borough Council (IBC). IBA was set up to produce an income to help to pay for council services and over £17 million has been provided so far.
ARP was bought by IBA in 2017, who have invested wisely. It was great to visit and hear how well it is doing and the exciting plans for the future. ARP has eleven companies on its totem pole, see the attached photo.
Tim Horton’s was the last new outlet to open. I’ve heard that it’s very popular at breakfast time and is a favourite of the boys (and girls) in blue who like the coffee and donuts. There are three other fast-food outlets there – KFC, Burger King and Costa Coffee. Joining them soon will be Taco Bell. IBA have handed a unit over to Taco Bell and they are now waiting on their new kitchen fitters.
The next exciting development will be the building of a new Lidl store, on the site of the former B&Q garden centre. The supermarket will be Ipswich’s third Lidl. IBA will build a new food store building. Lidl will lease the building from IBA and are expected to employ at least 40 people. Solar panels and heat pumps will provide most of the store’s predicted energy needs with any excess energy fed back into the national grid. As a parent, I was delighted to see that seven additional parent/child spaces are to be provided!
Will that be the park full? No – there will still be space for a small unit, sandwiched between the Lidl and the Jump In trampoline centre.
Another new service will soon provide 12 Tesla superfast EV charging points.
How is this paid for? IBC was able to borrow money from central government at a low interest rate and lend it to the company which uses the rents to provide IBC with an income. The income paid to IBC is £3.4 million per year and this amount has been agreed for the next four years.
Borrowing for commercial investment increased significantly over the past decade to generate revenues and offset cuts in government funding. The government don’t allow this anymore, as some councils have got into problems with their debts. It is perhaps fitting that the council with the highest debt ratio is Spelthorne in Surrey and their MP is Kwasi Kwarteng, the Tory Chancellor who crashed the economy last year. Their debt to spending power ratio is seven times worse than Ipswich, which has a prudent, managed approach to risk.
One year ago, the Tories wilfully crashed the UK economy with their disastrous mini-budget – and the rest of us have been paying the price ever since. I was pleased to hear Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves say,” As chancellor, my mission will be to bring stability back to our economy because that is the only way we can bring growth back. Labour will ensure stability returns to our economy and on that rock of stability, working people will be better off.”
IBA is responsible for about £100 million of assets. As well as ARP, it has the Deichman building on the Cornhill, Europa House, Portman House and Providence House (all Ipswich), retail units at Beardmore Park, Martlesham Heath (includes Marks and Spencer) and Peterborough Business Park.
The success of IBA, set up by Labour with Labour Councillor Colin Kreidewolf as Chair, in growing economic development in Ipswich demonstrates that Labour can be trusted to provide the economic rock of stability, helping people become better off.