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Britain's Crumbling Town Centres

Discussion in 'Civic & Community' started by dan5, Aug 2, 2017.

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  1. dan5

    dan5ModeratorStaff Member

    Another interesting post from Ipswich Society's facebook.


    A rather intriguing post in support of Ipswich with newly founded arch-nemesis Bury St Edmunds being used as the benchmark. In my view, despite its strengths, Bury St Edmunds shouldn't be seen as the "West Suffolk Woodbridge".

    I have been to Bury St Edmunds numerous times in my lifetime before and after the arc development. I don't know why people associate it with a middle class posh town. Furthermore, I do not know how anyone can go from a place like Ipswich and then into Bury St Edmunds and fail to see Bury St Edmunds' flaws. St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Abbey Gardens, The Guildhall, Angel Hill, The Arc, The Apex, Bury market, and their Christmas Fayre isn't it - it is the people!

    Okay, not everyone is bad, that isn't what I am getting at. The ordinary folk of Bury St Edmunds is not too dissimilar to Ipswich folk. I am not entering Ipswich into the ring as a shopping destination for obvious reasons (past planning decisions beyond my control), but remove their historic treasures (just like Ipswich's ones which aren't promoted) and the modern shopping centre (we have the waterfront uni instead)... what are you left with? The same setup as Ipswich.

    For most of my visits, I get the train to Bury St Edmunds. Nowhere near close to size and grandeur of Ipswich Station - well we are the county town after all. Followed by a stroll down Station Hill - a mismatch various use "no mans land" which the council should do something about - up Ipswich Street and then down St Johns Street which for much you could draw comparison to Ipswich's The Saints. Then from there you are at the town centre and it isn't much different to any other clone town centre with that block formation. Bury St Edmunds doesn't come close to Ipswich for parks either.

    So with Howard Estate, Priors Estate, Westley Estate and Moreton Hall they have fewer estates and a noticeably less population. According to Rightmove, Bury St. Edmunds has an average house price of £284,294, whereas Ipswich, has an average house price of £207,964. What are they really paying more for? Cambridge! (Mostly) Stripping away this they aren't actually gaining much. Bury St Edmunds taking advantage of the middle class Cambridge commuters. Fair enough. Beyond that you get the same chavs and unemployed or low paid working class workers as you see in Ipswich. As most of the former don't have a job they hang around the town centre. I have visited people on two of those estates over the years and makes Ipswich look good.

    However, the other factors come into play. For Ipswich folk, Bury St Edmunds is a fresh painted up experience, there is none of the politics and it is a day out with a positive vibe; whereas their own town they have seen decline with very few improvements and can sense the negativity while they are in town. For Bury Folk, the middle class snobs at least, oversell their town (you can understand it with their house prices) but more to the point are proud of their little town and want to see it grow and succeed; in comparison they see Ipswich as a threat being the county town when they don't think it is deserved due to the polar opposite in attitudes here (well those running the town anyway) and for it being a working class town.

    To recap, Bury St Edmunds town centre isn't anything special (still nice) when you exclude "the arc" but its gems are located to the east of the town centre. Some might call that the town centre too. Everyone appears to treat it like a village in certain respects. Ipswich will continue to suffer while it is being mismanaged.
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  3. martinc


    if we are going to play who's got the best railway station then Norwich wins hand down in my book. Maybe its because its a terminus and Ipswich a through station but in terms of size and grandeur its way out there..
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • OP

      dan5ModeratorStaff Member

      Yes, most definitely!

      I think you are right, must be due to being a terminus and having great ambition.... but don't forget keeping this strictly Suffolk :D and Norwich being an ancient city. Their original terminus for the GEML was called Norwich Victoria which wasn't anything special. Not sure if the railway was rerouted or whether the Victoria one was demolished to make way for it. A nice station indeed.

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