One thing I’ve learned from my time as leader of the council is that any project which involves property takes an age to complete, writes Councillor David Ellesmere.
A huge amount of work goes on behind the scenes to sort out financial, legal and physical issues. But because this isn’t visible it can often seem as though nothing is happening.
In the past few weeks though, we have seen a large number of big projects in Ipswich very publicly moving forwards.
Outline planning permission has been granted for nearly 2,000 new homes to the north of Ipswich. This is the culmination of long and detailed work to ensure that the development includes the facilities needed to make this a sustainable community.
As well as the new homes, there will be new schools, a health centre, a district shopping centre, bridges over the railway line and a new country park.
There’s still plenty of work to do but this is a major step forward and is likely to lead to construction beginning next year.
On the same day as this permission was granted, Babergh District Council also granted planning permission for the first occupier of the former sugar beet site at Sproughton.
Construction of a new £40m distribution warehouse for LDH La Doria is now planned to start in June. 125 people will be employed at the warehouse in the first instance but this is expected to expand in the future.
Another major announcement was that Ipswich is to get a new £20m records office and heritage centre after Suffolk County Council won more than £10m from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the project.
The Hold is expected to attract thousands of visitors to Ipswich each year. It will also provide public facilities and teaching spaces for the university.
The £3m conversion of the former Hollywood nightclub into a modern office centre by local developers Pertwee Estates is also underway as well as the construction of Crown Car Park, Easy Hotel and the Winerack.
Adding all the projects I’ve mentioned together comes to at least £350m – a real sign of the success we’re currently having attracting new investment to Ipswich and a huge boost for the local economy.