Liz Harsant was elected Councillor in 2002 to represent Holywells Ward and in 2004 became Leader of Ipswich Borough Council, in a joint administration (Conservatives /Lib Dems) for 6½ years. Amongst other things, community spirit is one of the reasons that Liz writes for Waterfront Life.
When I first became a Councillor in 2002, the Waterfront and surrounding areas looked so different. Now when we travel down Duke Street we have the newly refurbished restaurant right on the corner called The Forge; and if you haven’t been I can highly recommend it - the ambience is incredible. Next door is Sanchez’s paper shop which has been there for many years and is now called Bargain Booze! This shows the times we are living in when what was predominantly a paper shop had to branch out to keep going.
A little further on we have the Travelodge, the first hotel in this area and adjoining the hotel is Mahzen; a superb and very well used Mediterranean restaurant. Many small businesses and food outlets have opened along one side of Duke Street but when you look across the road you see the ugly car park which I still call Shed 8, but has a much posher name Duke Orwell Quay Car Park! The car park itself is well used, but the perimeter is so badly kept and in spite of many requests to the University, we see little improvement. A few years ago, I did manage to get some daffodils planted on the corner of Duke Street and University Avenue and it will be interesting to see if they pop up this year.
Further along Duke Street you will find Aqua Pharmacy; such an asset to this area but suffering because Suffolk County Council will not allow a layby outside this chemist, which would be such a help and with other businesses opening along this stretch, it would help local commerce to survive in a hard competitive market.
Finally, I would just like to mention the concrete planters. I spent many years persuading the University to steam clean them – which they have done – and to replant them which they have done. But can’t we have some flowers like they do on the Continent….so cheering for everyone. What do you think?