At the meeting of Suffolk County Council on Thursday 7th December Colin Noble, Leader of the Conservative Group on Suffolk County Council proposed a motion to drive forward the ambition for Ipswich to become a city. This motion was seconded by the Cabinet Member for Ipswich Paul West and going full cross- party support.
A strong and successful Ipswich is the key to a strong and successful Suffolk. City status would be a real positive for Ipswich, and for Suffolk. In all but name, Ipswich is a city. It is thriving, with an array of businesses, shops, restaurants, bars, cafes and communities. It has good links to other cities by road and rail and is little over an hour away from Stansted Airport.
The town brings in a number of sporting events – hosting the first ever Great East Run, East Anglia’s version of the hugely popular ‘Great Run’ series, and staging parts of stages in both the Tour of Britain and The Women’s Tour. We also have the Great East Swim here, another fantastic sporting event.
The communities around Ipswich are growing, bringing in more people who can work in town, spend money in the town’s shops. The University of Suffolk will continue to attract the best students. Ipswich becoming a city would boost the attractiveness for those wanting to further their education, both from here in Suffolk as well as across the country and outside of the UK.
City status would also make Ipswich, and the rest of Suffolk, a more attractive place for investment. Gaining that status would, more than ever before, “we are open for business”. Businesses are more likely to invest in an ambitious, positive city.
While we don’t know when the next city statuses would be awarded, we ought to be prepared for when it next comes up. Being ready to put our name forward with a plan ready to be tabled would be a real signal of intent – because there could be a city status awarded to mark the wedding of Harry and Meghan next year, or further down the line, for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
At a time when savings are having to be made, there is concern over the cost of this move. At this stage, the bid would not cost the council, or taxpayers anything. But we must also think about the positives of a successful outcome – the extra money generated from the bid would far outweigh the cost of an application to become a city.
There are and will be people who aren’t necessarily behind the idea so far, but I will work hard to convince people what this would mean and what it would bring to Ipswich. This is a very serious bid to talk about the town and what it needs in the future, improving the investment already given here and boosting our already prosperous county.
Let’s all get behind it and make the city of Ipswich a reality.