Planning for change in Ipswich – September 2013

It’s just about a year since Sir Stuart Rose, retail guru and former chief executive of M&S, gave Ipswich town centre the thumbs down…
He used words like “shabby” and “depressing”.
Thankfully, his words didn’t fall on deaf ears. Ipswich Borough Council recognised the man for what he is – someone who really understands retail – and decided to follow his advice. Happily, they persuaded Sir Stuart, who lives locally, to continue his involvement and they got local MPs and other influential people and organisations on board.
Now, various plans for a £3million investment have been unveiled.
In the greater scheme of things, that’s not a lot of money. It’s similar to what 24 year old footballer, Gareth Bale, will have earned by the middle of November.
And it’s going to have to go a long way. £3million might pay for a fancy new fountain, some pretty paving slabs, some new street furniture… But there’s a big job to tackle in Ipswich.
We can’t afford to lose any more ground while other towns and cities nearby forge ahead. Facing up to facts – Ipswich’s retail offering isn’t great. We all know that those with money to spend often take it to Norwich, Cambridge, Bluewater or nearby Bury St Edmunds.
So let’s get squarely behind these plans. Let’s turn a corner.
We need to find a ways to attract shoppers with money in their pockets into the town. Let’s persuade retailers – preferably those with some pulling power – to come. And let’s bring our county town back up to scratch.
Let’s be bold. Let’s be ambitious.
Ipswich, as a town, can’t afford for this downward spiral to continue.

Vanessa Penn

About Vanessa Penn

Vanessa Penn was formerly Director of Commercial Agency for Countrywide Commercial, Bradford & Bingley and Douglas Duff part of Erinaceous Plc. Vanessa now runs her own agency Penn Commercial located in Ipswich, Suffolk www.penncommercial.co.uk. Penn Commercial boasts a number of local, regional and national clients and has formed an excellent and loyal client base.
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