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Newsletter, April 2009 (Issue 175)

Editorial: Confidence


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I should particularly like to draw your attention to two major planning matters, namely the proposals for new developments between Valley Road and the railway line and Tesco's application for a massive supermarket in Grafton Way, just across the river from the railway station. Although the Society makes our own responses clear, it is also always useful for individuals to respond with their own ideas and in their own words to a planning application. Tesco's is a Full Planning Application, so now would be the time.

It's tempting to write about the general economic malaise because every downturn seems to connect with every other downturn. The Bubble bursting in the City and Wall Street has repercussions for Ipswich as it does for all other towns. In addition, at a national level, we in Britain have a greater problem than our continental neighbours because of the role of house values in our economy - homeowners have become accustomed to the feel-good factor of increasing unearned capital. And although house prices have come down, they are still at 2006 levels, which even then necessitated mortgage debts beyond a sensible proportion of income. Consequently, as a celebrated journalist has said, homeowners are in effect saying, "Please can we have our Bubble back." Which is understandable but not helpful if we wish to build a more securely based economy. But, back to Ipswich ... !

In Ipswich, shop closures are of course noticeable in our town centre - most obviously the national chains which have folded, like Woolworths, Zavvi and Adams. The analysts Experion anticipate a loss of some 10% of 'High Street' shops across the country. More distressing, if less noticeable, is the departure of a shop like Partridge's Farm Shop in The Walk which sold mostly local produce.

However, Ipswich is probably not so hard hit as many other towns. So once again, as in my previous Editorial, I commend the Evening Star for its positive attitude. Its 'Fight Back' campaign may seem a little forced at times but there are good things to point to. Some locally owned businesses are experiencing their best results even if they don't shout about it. And outside the business sector, the growth of UCS and Suffolk New College has come at the right time and will provide more work in the near future. Moreover, the coming of SnOasis to the area will lead to more economic activity in the medium term. If confidence is essential in a strong economy, isn't it just as important to look for reasons for confidence in relevant areas of an ailing economy?

Please read on in his Newsletter to find out about more Ipswich-based topical matters. I shall warmly welcome your contributions to the next Newsletter by 20 May.

NEIL SALMON

    Front cover of issue 175 Cover, issue 175

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