Ipswich football ground
from Ben Gummer MP
I was bemused by Colin Kreidewolf's letter claiming that there was 'a
worrying trend' of the Society's Newsletter containing inaccuracies, not
least because his own letter contained one. He claimed that I had put a
value of a million pounds on the football ground, which I have never done.
I must congratulate Mr Kreidewolf, however, for using the powers in the
Localism Act 2011 to help protect the Portman Road ground. It is a fine
piece of legislation and I was pleased to have voted for it myself, on
behalf of Mr Kreidewolf and all my constituents. I am glad that is being
put to good use.
Nothing Changes! 41 years ago...
from Chris Wiltshire
I'm a continual reader of James Lees-Milne's Diaries. I suppose he might
need some introduction to members but his long association with heritage and
conservation matters makes him a very interesting commentator.
Diary entry Saturday 25th November 1972:
"I lose battles all along the line, The Rural District Council has decided -
I knew of course that they would - to allow the erection of an enormous cow
factory in the Ozleworth valley behind this village [a Cotswold area close
to J L-M's house at Alderley], in spite of the valley being within the AONB
which stands for Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. These designations mean
absolutely nothing. There is always a reason venal or financial - same thing
- for the local authority to give way. Beauty of the landscape is absolutely
at a discount in England. Let us face it. The most beautiful country in
Northern Europe in my youth will before my death be irredeemably ruined,
damned and finished. Within one's lifetime - it is a terrifying thought; and
since it coincides within my lifetime I feel fractionally responsible".
From: A Mingled Measure, James Lees-Milne Diaries 1953-1972, pub. John
Do members feel that Lees-Milne was being overly conservative, pessimistic
and reactionary? After all, he was largely responsible for managing the
handover of some of the best houses that the National Trust now cares for.
Without his advocacy and skills many would have been demolished in the 1930s
from Kay McElhinney
During the talk at the AGM by Richard Lister and Paul Clement, something was
bothering me about their presentation but I couldn't put my finger on quite
what. Afterwards it dawned on me what the problem was: whereas during their
'pitch' they reiterated their main campaigning point - i.e. to join the town
centre to the Waterfront and restore the North-south axis of the town and
the flow of pedestrian traffic in that direction - the design for the
Cornhill they are proposing reinforces the current East-West axis and runs
counter to their main campaign.
The layout for the new Cornhill runs East-West; the paving design draws the
eye East-West; the visual focal point (the tower) is on the East-West axis;
and from what I could see, in order to use what is currently the most
popular route to the Waterfront on the north-south axis, pedestrians will
have to negotiate a flight of steps which could prove to be a barrier. And
if they are keen to stimulate retail in the town centre, where traditional
shop-based retail is failing and the main recent retail successes have been
the various markets which bring a lot of people into the town, why restrict
the space available? Why not use the North-South axis and bring Lloyds
Avenue, Princes Street and Queen Street into the market's usable space and
really join the town centre to the Waterfront?
As a secondary issue, I am concerned about the expense of creating better
access to the Town Hall via the steps and losing the steps as picturesque
amenity (choirs at Christmas, UCS new-graduate photos, for example) before a
plan has been drawn up for how the interior will be used and how it will
need to be reconfigured, as once that is done perhaps it may turn out that
the best entrance might be via Princes Street and the entrance via the steps
could be redundant?
AGM: Ipswich town centre development
from Ken Wilson
The speakers at the AGM provoked a lively debate and it was clear that the
future of our town centre, particularly the shops, is dear to the hearts of
I felt my thoughts drifting back some years to the time when two or three
shopping precincts were on offer and after much careful consideration and
debate approval was given to Tower Ramparts. We were assured that because we
were a little later than many places we would have a really first-class
product, the faults that had emerged in early schemes having all been ironed
out. Ours consequently would be flawless.
A couple of years later Tower Ramparts was extensively remodelled.
When not long afterwards the Buttermarket precinct appeared we were invited
to make an inspection and a large group from the Society was shown round.
During the discussion that followed I referred to the Tower Ramparts
experience and asked the manager how long it would be before his development
would need to be adapted. He paused to smile indulgently at my naivety then
said firmly that this shopping precinct was undoubtedly complete.
A couple of years later history repeated itself.
What this tells me is that the confident assertions of those most ready to
assure us that they know just what is needed to revitalise our town must be
treated with a degree of caution.
AGM: Steps and slopes for the Cornhill?
from Neil Salmon
Our speakers at the Society's AGM, Paul Clement and Richard Lister, made an
admirable case for "turning our town around". I am sure that their
strategic vision is the way forward, in recognising above all that:
1. The Wet Dock enables the modern Waterfront to be the unique asset of the
2. Therefore linking the Waterfront with the town centre is crucial.
3. Modern methods of shopping mean that the town centre must offer more
4. Some superfluous shops will need to be converted to include residential
5. Attracting new private investment is essential.
My only personal issue of disagreement is their support for proposals to
create different levels of the Cornhill which would have potentially
hazardous steps and slopes. My view is that the Cornhill is already a small
area for a large town. To create different levels would make it less, not
more, flexible. Despite its present natural slope, it is possible to
include an enlarged and varying market, and on other days events involving
free movement across the whole space.
If improving access to the Town Hall is one reason for changing levels of
the Cornhill, that seems to me too big a price to pay. I hope my criticism
will be seen not as nostalgic or reactionary but as purely practical.