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Seeing Ipswich through fresh eyes

Let’s face it we all like a good moan, and especially in Ipswich!

That’s not always a bad thing, writes David Ellesmere, Leader of Ipswich Borough Council.  An awareness of where things are not as good as they could be is a spur to make improvements. That has always been the great driver of human progress.

But sometimes that can mean we forget about just how great our town is. We experience it every day, so can take it for granted.


Listening to what visitors or newcomers think of Ipswich can be eye opening.

Two things brought that home to me last Friday.

In the afternoon, I was showing round a visitor. He was brought up near Woodbridge but now lives in Manchester. It was at least a couple of years since he’d last been to Ipswich and he saw a very noticeable improvement.

The town centre retail experience was much better with new stores like Jack Wills, Kiko Milano, Joules and Swarovski all now present. He was blown away by the new Buttermarket.

The ultimate accolade though was that, such is the growing reputation of our town across the country, he has now changed where he says he comes from. Whereas once it would focus on “Suffolk” or “Woodbridge” he now tells people he comes from “near Ipswich”.

In the evening, I went to the opening gig of the Ipswich Jazz festival at the Manor Ball Room.

There I met a couple who had recently moved to Ipswich from Essex.

By an astonishing coincidence the husband used to work with the headline artist Claude Deppa at London Electricity Board in 1979. When they saw that Claude was performing they just had to come.

They were amazed that they could see gigs like this in Ipswich.

They were even more pleased when I told them about Music Day next weekend – still the largest free one day music festival in the region, if not the country – and Global Rhythms the weekend after.

They had been in Ipswich for ten months and said every day felt like they were on holiday.

How lucky it would be to see Ipswich through their eyes every once in while!


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