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.
The Rivers Estate started its life back in the 1930s when Cliff Lane was just a track leading from Nacton Road to Holywells Road with the Park on one side and farmland on the other. The area was developed and the streets were named after British Rivers. Just one shop, the Margaret Catchpole and the school were built to serve the new development.
In July 1940 several bombs landed in Holywells Park, Cliff Lane, Severn and Wye Road. This was because of the close proximity of the Estate to the Docks and sadly one woman was killed. Further bombs were dropped in 1940 and 1942 on other parts of the Rivers Estate.
I understand there was a pond fed by a stream on the corner of Oulton Road and Dereham Avenue. Research shows that it was very large and surrounded by iron railings. It would be interesting to know the history of the pond if any of the readers know.
It is quite disturbing when you look back to see that Landseer Park at the end of Dereham Avenue was used as a rubbish dump for over half a century. Residents of the Rivers, Gainsborough and the Greenwich estates suffered years of noise and smells. The eventual landfill operation saw the destruction of wildlife and habitats which would never have been allowed these days.
Now when we look at the Rivers we see the most pleasant housing estate with Landseer Park and Holywells Park so easily accessible. Cliff Lane has a selection of shops to serve the community; the school is still there and opposite is St Luke’s Church one of the Waterfront Churches which has a wonderful congregation. There are also two bowls clubs one adjoining the Margaret Catchpole and the other in the grounds of the Park.
Like all estates these days residents experience all sorts of trouble. I often deal with parking issues around the Park area and the school. Visitors seem to forget that people actually live in the houses and need to access their garages and homes - it is very unreasonable.
I love representing the Rivers Estate as a local Councillor which has a great community feel and is a very attractive and safe place to live.