Members will perhaps recall that the Group was set up by the Borough
Council's Environmental Protection Panel in 1998 following a
brainstorming session of that body which wanted to do something
specific rather than acting only as a talking shop. Of the original
members, those who are regular attendees at our bi-monthly meetings
represent Sustrans (the national cycle campaign), Ipswich Cycle
Campaign, Ipswich Wildlife Group, Inland Waterways Association, IBC
planners and a councillor and, of particular importance, the Greenways
Project of which I have written occasionally. I have represented The
Ipswich Society and am the Chairman of the Group since its inception.
So what has been achieved in these twelve years? One of the most
significant changes has been in the way the river as an amenity to be
cherished is now accepted. Previously the town seemed to have turned
its back on it. Planning guidelines now require new development along
the river to face on to it and developers to provide high standard
footpaths and cycleways. The results can be seen by walking from
Yarmouth Road to the flood control gate under the railway bridge.
The River Action Group helped to promote the now very successful
skateboard park. We do our best to look after the Ipswich Society's
sarsen stones picnic area. Sadly the graffiti on the stones can only
We have been successful in obtaining Lottery funding for some of the
artwork along the river path. The Navigator is a bold piece of
sculpture recalling the industrial engineering past of Ipswich. Our
ancient rower at Stoke Bridge is by a local sculptor and was cast by
him in his Butley forge. The murals on some of the retaining walls
fight a continuing battle with would-be graffiti improvers!
The Ipswich Society has been very supportive and has funded a simple
river walk leaflet which is in its third edition. The Society has also
now agreed to fund the cost of renewing the vandalised information
boards where this has become necessary.
We are hopeful of obtaining funding to provide disabled, cycling and
push chair access under the flood control unit railway bridge as part
of Ipswich's participation in the Haven Gateway Partnership. This has
updated its integrated development programme for important
infrastructure needed to support the growth of the area and help to
justify growth point funding into the Haven Gateway. Early days I am
There are possibilities of benefiting from the development of the old
B&Q site now purchased by Tesco. Then one day the old British Sugar
factory site will be developed which should also benefit the river
towards Sproughton - the limit of our Group's ambitions. The newly
established River Gipping Trust wants to establish navigation rights
up to Stowmarket (as described in the January Newsletter).
I should like to encourage members to walk the river path and see our
achievements for themselves.