Cllr Neil MacDonald and Cllr Phil Smart at the new IBC Depot. Copyright Neil MacDonald.
Cllr Neil MacDonald and Cllr Phil Smart at the new IBC Depot. Copyright Neil MacDonald.

Ipswich Borough Council is Proud of Ipswich and ambitious for the town.  The Labour controlled council is moving forward in many areas.

We are in the middle of an £80m council housebuilding programme, which will deliver 302 new homes for Ipswich people.  These will be let at an affordable rent to people on the housing waiting list.  They are built to a high energy efficient standard with top notch insulation and solar panels to keep down electricity bills.

We are providing a third of the funds for the rebuilding of Broom Hill swimming pool, which is a cherished Ipswich asset. We thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for the rest of the money, but the re-birth of Broomhill Pool would not be possible without our support to bridge the funding gap.

We are rebuilding the Town’s Victorian Museum fit the 21st century.  This will allow the story of Ipswich to be told in a modern and interactive way. Again, we have successfully bridged a funding gap by our own innovation and working with the lottery.

We will take practical and decisive action on the climate emergency and become a carbon neutral council by 2030.  We are investing £23m in a new Green depot, for all our vehicles, to significantly move us towards our target of Net zero. The depot, just off Hadleigh Road, will generate its own power through solar and wind technology.

We can see that business is booming at Eastern Gateway, the industrial park built on the former sugar beet site at Sproughton. A bold move from the council to buy the site. Over half the land will be managed as a new Sproughton Nature Reserve. From the start, there was a focus on employment and the plots already sold or under contract will have created more than 900 jobs.  This is great news for growing the Ipswich economy and neatly dove-tails with our new Inward Investment Strategy to bring even more new investment to the Town. Ipswich now boasts the fifth fastest growing economy in the UK and is in the top 10 cities and towns when it comes to opportunities for start-up companies.

We are especially proud of our parks. Christchurch, Bourne and Holywells have green flags – the standard for park management.

We manage 93 play areas across Ipswich.  We have a £3.5million five year programme of play area upgrades across the town. In the next year £300,000 will be spent in Chantry Park and £400,000 on other schemes. Stone Lodge Park is currently being refurbished. On the Ipswich Garden Suburb, a magnificent visitors centre and play area, will be open in the summer. Don’t forget we run Orwell Country Park, a terrific green lung on the edge of town.

We are investing in the Ipswich entertainment offer with new facilities at the Regent.  The back of house changing areas were given a new building to improve the experience for performers last year.  Plans are advancing to give the front of house a makeover for audiences.  This will give more space, more bar area and more toilets – very popular!  Fingers crossed that this will happen next year.

We have also helped revitalise St Stephens Church, supporting a strategy to have music venues of all sizes.  We are continuing to financially support Ipswich-based Arts organisations. Our much-praised Events programme brought 200,000 people into the town in the last year.

I hope that gives you a flavour of our ambition. While people may sound off about our progress, we intend to roll up our sleeves and get on with the job of delivering our Ambition for Ipswich.

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