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- 1 week, 1 day ago #40501 week, 1 day ago #4057
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I really don’t know what the local government and Ben Gummer are up to.
The first fatal error/mistake (pre-Ben Gummer and various local councillors) was sticking the University at the Ipswich Waterfront. Didn’t zone enough land for expansion. A quarter was planned around the area aimed at student accommodation. Not ideal but concentrating students around the University of Suffolk and Suffolk New College sites is sensible and reduces demand for travel. So Ipswich Waterfront aimed for a generally younger audience.
Ipswich Waterfront island site has been planned for decades to be residential (and a small park) – Ben came up with the idea of using part of the site for university expansion… he oversold it by naming it “Enterprise Island” as the island is likely to be 60-70% residential. The Upper Orwell Crossing is aimed to re-route the horrid one-way gyratory system to the north of the waterfront segregating the waterfront from the town centre. A major problem in the axis switch of the town centre.
The aim was for The Link development just north of the waterfront which would unlock the Old Cattle Market bus station site for further development creating a good north-south route from Tower Street (Christchurch Park a few minute walk) to Stoke area just south of the waterfront.
The second bad mistake is allowing retirement flats to be built on this land instead – it should have been housing for the younger market including families which would unlock benefits to the town centre retail heart through spending and also to the waterfront through restaurants etc. – various retirement places being built left, right and centre across Ipswich… Most universities have a nice option of exclusive on-site restaurants and cafes, Ipswich’s University of Suffolk has two cafes – one in each Uni building… and relying on the offering of Ipswich Waterfront… which caters to anyone who wants to go there… you can’t really cater for that student clientele including the prices they want to pay and the mature market who would be more willing to pay the premium for the location.
This has resulted in students going further into town to Buttermarket Centre restaurants but this won’t reflect well on university satisfaction surveys in future years (especially if Cult Cafe is going). Ipswich has a lot to offer but the university is very much limited in scope. Poor planning… anything will do. To the east student accommodation, to the north retirement homes (I am sure it will get expanded on to the bus station site in future years)…
The third bad mistake is Ben Gummer wanting to develop luxury apartments around the Ipswich Waterfront (including island site) to cater for middle-class people. Some dream that a wealthy playground by the Ipswich Waterfront as a second home and in some cases their first and only home could exist when the rest of the town is a rundown cesspit.
Ipswich is a working class town but a growing percentage are middle-class. The clever idea of Ben’s is, get these big money making properties built and it will bring big brands into the town centre and boost the economy. Not really going to work when Poundland and B&M dominates the town and supermarket price wars. Enterprise Island will bring top hi-tech and biotech jobs with large salaries and people will own a home right next to their employer so won’t need to commute or own a car. Good in theory but will not work in reality. Transport links are poor (but wait, the Ben Bridge! It doesn’t link to to the island site) However, add into the mix the students from the nearby university… highly unlikely someone wants a luxury apartment within such an environment.
Ben Gummer is full of ideas… which is why he has been tasked of writing the Conservative Party’s manifesto. I could (i.e. anyone) write some wonderful in-a-perfect-world ideas, concepts and scenarios but if they don’t work in reality, it just isn’t a good idea. In 10 years people will be confused about the small Ipswich Waterfront area having dedicated developments catering to different people… retired people, working-class students, first time buyers, short-term tourist stays (i.e. airbnb), fixed term rentals for professionals and middle-class property owners. It is unlikely for the Ipswich Waterfront to move away from primarily being for the university, so will always have big crowds of students… and if the waterfront is ever complete the restaurants will out-price the students due to increase in land value and increased business rates and rent.
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