Members will perhaps remember that R.A.G. was spawned by the Environment
Protection Panel on which I represent the Society. Its main active members
are from Ipswich Wildlife Group, Sustrans, the Inland Waterways Association,
Greenways, the Museum and IBC Regeneration and Planning personnel. Fellow
Ipswich Society member, John Ireland, represents local cyclists.
What has been achieved so far? Our principal success, I feel, is the
adoption by the Borough Council of our Strategy Document. This called for
all housing development along the upriver frontage from Stoke Bridge to
include the provision of either separate cycle routes and footpaths or a
combined path if necessary.
Those interested should walk upriver from behind the Ministry of Defence
site up to the first railway bridge. They will see large stretches of
completed paths which have all been provided by the developers. Beyond this
bridge the Ipswich and Norwich Co-operative Society have provided a 5 metre
width of land by setting their outer fencing back where this has been
possible. Improvements to the paths have yet to take place in this area.
A completely new section of the cycle path has been created between Princes
Street bridge and West End Road. This passes through what will become a
picnic site where our Lottery-funded Navigator sculpture (featured in the
July 2003 Newsletter) has been erected.
The Ipswich Wildlife Group, on behalf of R.A.G., has now obtained a
substantial further Lottery grant which is paying for the development of
this picnic area and for the production of seven information boards showing
what is being, or has been, achieved between the start of our section of the
path at Stoke Bridge and Alderman Canal. An additional grant from the
Nationwide Building Society will help to pay for a further work of art to
mark this start at Stoke Bridge.
An indirect result of our activities has been the creation of a skateboard
park at Stoke Bridge. R.A.G. gave the initial impetus to the Borough
Council's providing the land and R.A.G. undertook the development of the
adjacent pocket park. There are many problems associated with the skateboard
park, mainly to do with litter, graffiti etc but there is no doubt that this
new facility is popular with young people of our town.
One of our constant concerns is the whole question of cleanliness, including
dog fouling. We do have regular river clean-ups, but sadly we are a dirty
nation, and it is up to organisations such as our Society to keep up the
effort to educate the public.
On a final note, we continue our efforts to provide a River Centre, possibly
associated with an Environmental Centre, along the river frontage. One day
we'll see boating on the river again.