Why Suffolk needs more reasons to be proud of Ipswich
PUBLISHED: 12:13 08 May 2019
Suffolk needs its county town to be successful, so isn't it time to visit, enjoy and be proud of Ipswich? Terry Hunt is former editor of the East Anglian Daily Times. Suffolk born and bred, he lives in Ipswich
I have never understood the widespread negativity about Suffolk's county town. I really like Ipswich. I've lived there for more than 30 years, my children were born and educated in the town, and I don't ever intend to live anywhere else.
But, sadly, I bump into so many people throughout Suffolk who cannot find a good word to say about Ipswich. When I talk positively about the place, they look at me as though I've taken leave of my senses.
It's a real shame, and very unfair. The town has so much to offer, and Suffolk really does need a strong, successful Ipswich.
Solving this problem is not simple, but it is vital that we do so. The answer, surely, is to create good reasons for people to visit Ipswich. Visitors to the town might well find it's a whole lot better than they ever imagined.
That's precisely what happened with the Pigs Gone Wild trail for St Elizabeth Hospice a couple of years ago, and I'm sure the same will apply to the Elmer elephants later this year.
The stunning Kiss and Tell exhibition at Christchurch Mansion has attracted thousands of people to view Rodin's awesome sculpture, The Kiss.
So Ipswich can attract large numbers of visitors - it just needs to do it more often. As chair of the Ipswich Vision board, I get really excited by the improvements in the town. The wonderful Waterfront, the beautiful parks and, yes . . . the new-look Cornhill.
A programme of vibrant events is being prepared to really bring the Cornhill to life, and to give residents and visitors the opportunity to spend time there and enjoy Ipswich's impressive central square.
One of the most exciting regular events will be a monthly farmers' market, on the first Sunday of each month, starting on April 7.
It's being organised by Justine Paul, who does the same thing with great success in a number of other Suffolk towns.
I see this as a great opportunity to transform people's perception of Ipswich. It will be a high-quality market, with about 30 stalls, all manned by the person who produces whatever it is they're selling, so customers can discuss the provenance of the food.
It's all very local produce, everything sourced from businesses no more than 30 miles from Ipswich. There will be fresh and smoked fish, local meat, Indian food, award-winning bread, artisan breads, fresh cut flowers and plants, spices and sauces, goat's cheese, fudge, and tea, plus much more.
I'm really looking forward to these markets starting, and I hope they attract lots of people from far and wide. I'm sure visitors will like what they see, and many will also visit the Waterfront and Christchurch Park.
Hopefully they'll enjoy themselves, spend some money - and return soon.
There's another exciting, although very different, development happening in Ipswich which will be aiming to attract visitors to the town. It's called The Hold, and it's the new home for Suffolk Record Office. But it's so much more than that.
The Hold is taking shape next to the University of Suffolk, and is due to open its doors in the spring of 2020. It will store Suffolk's fascinating archives, and will find exciting and innovative ways to relate the history of our county.
It's really important that Suffolk appreciates what it's getting here. The Hold will be a real gem for people from across the county to visit, enjoy and learn.
I've written about just two new reasons for visitors to come to Ipswich. There are many others. Why not give Ipswich a look? You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find.