GREATER IPSWICH PARTNERSHIP
THE VISION, VALUES AND PRIORITIES
Welcome to Greater Ipswich Partnership’s Vision, Values and Priorities.
This publication is the culmination of a determination by key organisations with an interest in turning our town around to work as one for the benefit of us all. The organisations that comprise this Partnership have come together with one outcome in mind: to make Ipswich – Suffolk’s county town and East Anglia’s premier waterfront town – an even better place. A better place to do business in, a better place to live in, a better place to work in, a better place to attract inward investment, a better place to bring our children up in, a better place to see them develop to their full potential. These ambitions are split into three categories, each with a clear vision and quantifiable priorities to work towards. Ipswich is already a great place, and it could be so much better. An economically strong, vibrant and ambitious Greater Ipswich is good for those of us who live here and for Suffolk as a whole.
Terry Baxter; Chair, Ipswich Central David Ellesmere, Leader, Ipswich Borough Council Deborah Cadman, Chief Executive, Suffolk County Council John Dugmore, Chief Executive Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and on behalf of Ipswich Chamber of Commerce Richard Lister, Provost and Chief Executive, University Campus Suffolk
VISION, VALUES AND
Like other town and city centres, Ipswich needs to change. Places are changing as they react to the new habits of consumers (residents, shoppers, visitors, employees, businesses and investors). Ask anyone to describe their ‘place’ and most will not tell you about their own house or the street in which they live; they will describe their town or city and will most likely do so by talking first about the central area. Therefore, to suggest that town and city centres are “irrelevant” or are “in terminal decline” is simply wrong. They have an emotional pull for those who live and work in them. They act as drivers of change across wider economic areas. If places are to change and adapt, the priority area for such transformation is, therefore, the central area. It needs a clear Vision for where it is headed; a set of Values that articulate how such change is to be managed; and a Partnership between the private and the public sectors that enables the regeneration required to happen through a managed and prioritised process that constantly refers back to the same Vision and Values. Ipswich now has all of this in place and is determined to use it to strengthen its role as the county town of Suffolk and a major engine of growth across the region.
VISION AND VALUES As a major regional centre, Ipswich should strive to create prosperity - enriching the lives of residents, businesses and visitors - by creating a waterfront town. It is a place whose estuary location gives rise to a culture that is at once outgoing and naturally welcoming. We will strengthen these attributes. Ipswich will be vibrant and dynamic; it will also be pragmatic, progressive and diverse. It can be both reflective and imaginative, in keeping with its rural setting, but also
gritty and hardworking, arising from its industrial roots. Ipswich will thrive on such individuality and difference. Above all, we want Ipswich to recapture its adventurous and creative spirit. We should challenge
convention, look further ahead and embrace new ideas.
With an eye on far horizons we should use our good connections and seek
influence beyond our boundaries. By reconnecting the town centre with the waterfront, and the future with our natural spirit of place, Ipswich will be celebrated for where it is going as much as where it has come from.
VISION AND VALUES CONTINUED
There is now a commonly shared Vision for Ipswich and crucial to its success will be ensuring that the qualities and values required of those tasked with its delivery are not compromised. Many of these may be considered unusual for a town of its size and in its location but they symbolise the ambition and determination that Ipswich has for its future. Ipswich is rediscovering its distinctive quality as a portside town. The sense of uniqueness that this presents can be made to appeal to new consumer demand. The town now has a sense of where its future lies. Connections, both in terms of physical linkages and emotional attachments, will create a unique sense of place, to be described and branded as:
East Angliaâ€™s Waterfront Town
THE VISION The creation of a premier waterfront town necessitates a complete re-thinking of the shaping and functioning of an area that has, historically, operated as two distinct, largely unconnected districts – the port area and the main commercial/retail district. The latter has relied upon an eastwest axis for shopping and, with the marina located some way to the south, the two areas have, historically, failed to work together as a single, compelling customer experience. The opportunity is to create natural linkages between Christchurch Park and the proposed Museum and Cultural Quarter development to the far north, the main retail and business district in the centre, and the waterfront to the south. ‘Turning Our Town Around’, the concept to change the axis of the town centre from east-west to north-south has captured imaginations and brought the private and public sectors together. It was the focus of Ipswich Central’s (the BID) successful renewal campaign and is the core theme of Ipswich Borough Council’s masterplan for the area.
FOR A TOWN THAT, IN THE PAST, HAS BEEN CRITICISED FOR UNDER-PROMOTING ITSELF TO WIDER AUDIENCES, PROGRESS TOWARDS THE VISION HAS INCLUDED: • Development of the waterfront area into a mixed use leisure, cultural and learning experience, including University Campus Suffolk, DanceEast and a mixture of businesses, bars, cafes, restaurants and hotels • Proposals to redevelop the Museum site, creating a cluster of historic, cultural and creative uses on one site • Award of the Government’s X-Fund for proven creativity in ‘Turning Our Town Around’ • Acquisition of Tower Ramparts Shopping Centre for redevelopment to reinforce the northern end of the axis • Proposals to redevelop Buttermarket Shopping Centre to a more leisure-based offer • A design competition to redevelop the Cornhill square as the centrepiece of a renewing town centre
• Identification of two key routeways from the business area to the waterfront - Blackfriars and Saints - including the creation of complementary branding for each • Construction of the new Premier Inn hotel in the transition zone between the business area and the waterfront • The annual ‘Celebrate Ipswich and Maritime Festival’ attracting new customers from beyond Ipswich’s immediate catchment area
PRIORITIES FOR THE VISION
To achieve a distinctive sense of place, with an inspiring and exciting town centre, certain priorities have been set by stakeholders within a new grouping to be called the Greater Ipswich Partnership (Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Central, Ipswich Chamber of Commerce and the Local Economic Partnership) to undertake. In so doing they will apply the Values, as described. These are split into three distinct categories (physical, image and infrastructure), with immediate priorities in each section. The aim must be to use collaboration to create something different, and that is delivered in a way that is consistent with the Vision and its Values, and that allows the town centre to undergo a step-change in how it looks and feels in order that this will shift perceptions and create an appetite for investment, thereby allowing Ipswich to function as a key stimulator for wider economic growth across the county. The Partnership must ensure that Ipswich is high on the priority list for investment attraction and be able to demonstrate an ability on behalf of the town to deliver the types of changes articulated over the next three pages.
PHYSICAL PRIORITIES 1. Further improve impressions of the waterfront in order that it acts as a showcase for the town by completing the redevelopment and improving the appearance of the main entry points to the area 2. Improve the quality of the offer in the town centre, particularly retail, and stimulate new investment emanating from the redevelopment of the Cornhill Square 3. Stimulate and incentivise new retail and office investment/development and prioritise the completion of development sites and related projects
IMAGE PRIORITIES 1. Invest in and support a sustained Ipswich promotion, emphasising the uniqueness and breadth of the â€˜offerâ€™, and targeted at both local consumers and the wider audience 2. Co-ordinate efforts to improve the marketing of Ipswich as an inward investment opportunity, including talent and skills attraction 3. Improve and promote the wider town and unique cultural offer in order that it functions as a visitor destination
INFRASTRUCTURE PRIORITIES 1. Further integrate the waterfront with the commercial core (and vice-versa) both physically and emotionally 2. Improve the experience of travel into, around and across the town, including entry points and routeways across the central area 3. Improve the important gateway for visitors to the town from the station