More Money in Your Pocket!

money in pocket

Ipswich is the County Town of Suffolk and, although the Borough boundary is small, its economy supports a far wider area. Already there are thousands of people coming into Ipswich every day of the week and this will only rise as other smaller areas, outside of our control, grow in size.

We offer the major employment opportunities in the area.

We offer the biggest & best culture and leisure in the area.

We offer the best shopping in the area (despite the issues with the Town Centre)

Thousands of people from outside Ipswich benefit from the services operated and paid for by Ipswich Borough Council. Why shouldn’t you, as Council Tax payers benefit from this?

Conservative Councillors believe we should all benefit, to take a share in the success of our Town.

It’s a simple policy really, Ipswich residents should get a discount on services operated by the Borough such as Car Parks, the Regent, the Corn Exchange, Sports Centres etc. The cost for this would be met by non-residents paying extra to cover the costs.

As tax-payers we all shoulder the responsibility if things fail, why shouldn’t we share in their success.

A vote for a Conservative Councillor in the next local elections will help make Council Tax fairer for all of us,

 

 

 

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Empty for Christmas!

1 cornhillb

It’s 18 months since the lights were turned off in one of the most prominent buildings in our Town Centre. Since then £3.6 million has been spent on improving the Cornhill to try and create and  modern, vibrant focal point.

Part of the ‘Masterplan’ for the Cornhill was to have a prominent tenant at the Old Lloyds Bank (or Post Office if you are as old as me!).

It was the dream scenario promised to us by David Ellesmere, the Labour leader of IBC at an Executive meeting in March of this year. A brasserie style chain restaurant opening just as the work on the Cornhill was being completed. Al-fresco dining creating a buzz in the area and then the anticipated Pret a Manger completing the regeneration project.

What went wrong?

Why can’t IBC manage to find a tenant despite spending huge sums in the surrounding area?

Why can’t IBC find a tenant despite the building being in the most prime location in the Town Centre?

What does this say about our ability to negotiate deals?

The message this gives out to other retailers and businesses is that Ipswich is a failing Town and this is something we should not put up with.

The Labour Council has run out of ideas and cannot be trusted to turn the fortunes of our Town around. We now own £64 million worth of out of town retail parks, if we can’t successfully rent out this beautiful building in a perfect location what hope have got if we lose tenants elsewhere?

If you want to see a change of fortunes for Ipswich then put your trust in local Conservative Councillors. We can make Ipswich a place we can all be proud of.

Cornhill – The Verdict

Cornhill E

We have all eagerly awaited the unveiling of the work to transform the Cornhill, a vital cog in the fortunes of our Town Centre.

Early opinions have been mixed and to add to the debate I think it is wonderful and could be a real boost to the fortunes of our Town. It gives us a focal point to be proud of and it’s modern look should serve us well in the coming years.

Let’s not forget this project was started after the Cornhill was described by Lord (Stuart) Rose (who knows a thing or two about the viability of Town Centres), as ‘depressing’.

As wonderful as it does look Conservative Councillors have the responsibilty of holding the Labour Council to account as we are all aware the project hasn’t been without its problems.

Did it come in on budget?  The answer we got was; No, all costs are not yet in and we are already £50k over budget.

Were the Contractors fined for not completing it on time?   NO, despite us checking before the work started that penalty clauses WOULD be paid if the Contractor was late

How many accidents so far?   We were told of 3, we asked if this was because the Contractor rushed the work to finish on time or was it because we had to cut costs to save money?

Why weren’t the plinths finished (the concrete is yet to be ‘polished’) after they were installed?    Because they were late being delivered on site – again, NO penalties were paid.

This is our job, to ensure residents get the answers they deserve after so much of your money was spent on the project.

We must remain a strong opposition and hold the Council to account, if you want questions asked on your behalf get in contact and we will find the answers for you.

 

 

Rat activity in our Town Centre & No activity by the Labour Council!

Rubbish 261018(1)

Businesses & residents of our Town Centre have been contacting us and reporting the increasing sightings of rats.

Town Centres are a breeding ground for rats with food readily available and if not tackled swiftly this problem can, and will, turn into an infestation.

Over the past few years your Labour Council has given Planning permission to, and licensed, a huge number of Restaurants, Take-aways & late-night convenience stores, all of which produce waste on a daily basis, and wait for the Council to clear this waste.

Labour boast of the increase in our night-time economy but absolutely no changes have been made to their waste collection & street cleansing routines.

At the Council meeting Wednesday we put forward several suggestions to combat this but all were ignored.

All cleaning & collection finishes at 7pm, some areas in the Town Centre get no service after 5pm. Rubbish overflows in bins (see pic) and some smaller establishments have to use thin, green bin bags out overnight waiting for the morning collection.

Conservative Councillors suggested a change of times for the collection – Labour ignored us.

Conservative Councillors suggested using Sea-gull proof bin bags (used by other Councils) to stop the food waste being made available to the rats – Labour Councillors laughed, and did nothing.

The Labour spokesman for the Environment Cllr Smart suggested it was down to the Businesses to tackle the problem and offered NO hope of action to our hard-pressed business owners – despite them paying huge amounts in business rates.

Rats are a health hazard and a terrible advert for our Town. Conservative Councillors will keep pushing the Labour Council to take the action they should have done when this problem started.

Transparency at Ipswich Borough Council

A core principle of all public bodies is that of openness, after all it is tax-payers money that funds these, so it’s only correct that business is done in the most transparent way possible.

It is a  totally different scenario with private business for equally obvious reasons. Competition drives the economy and businesses use a variety of techniques to gain advantage over their rivals.

Ipswich Borough Council  currently operates and owns four companies which are run as private businesses. Currently these companies have outstanding loans to IBC of over £60 million. To put this number into context it is 3 times as much as the Annual Net Budget of the entire Council.

All expenditure items in the general budget are accounted for in public. Large expenditure goes before the Executive and Council with elected Councillors given detailed plans and the ability to ask questions.

Expenditure of all the private companies is done behind very closed doors. Can it be right that £42 million of your money is gambled on the Anglia Retail Park near Asda, or over £4 million spent on the Burtons/Dorothy Perkins store in the Town Centre without any discussion?

Twice as much money was spent in one deal than the entire Net Budget of IBC for 2 years! Nobody was consulted, most Councillors did not get the chance to scrutinise the deal, no Councillors could ask any questions.

It is a fine line the Council is treading – We understand the need to generate vital income to protect, and improve, frontline public services but we also understand the need for transparency. Councillors are elected to represent the public of Ipswich and we have a duty to uphold the core principle of openness.

Your Labour Council needs to ensure the balance between the two always favour the residents of our Town.

 

Taxis, Give the Power to the Drivers

At the Ipswich Borough Council Executive meeting of 10th July the ruling Labour Group set the fares for all Hackney Carriage drivers licensed in Ipswich. This is a process that has taken place for years.

The annual farce of the Ipswich Taxi Association asking for a fare they would like to charge then political leaders (are they really in-touch) deciding whether it is reasonable, both for the Drivers and the public, is a long, drawn-out and totally unnecessary burden on all involved.

Do the Labour group suitably qualified to know the market as well as the people that actually perform the job on a daily basis? Who has more at stake here, the Drivers or IBC? Of course the answer is the Drivers.

We have to move with the times and realise that IBC have no business in setting the fares of Taxi Drivers, or any other business. The Taxi market in Ipswich is competitive with a high number of Private Hire firms ensuring that the prices are determined by the market. If you are too expensive you wont get repeat business, that’s how it works.

The law gives Councils the right to set the fares but doesn’t make it mandatory. In these times of severe financial pressures it is senseless to take up valuable Council Officer time on anything that could and should be done by others.

Yes, IBC license Hackney Carriage drivers but it also licences shops selling alcohol, there is no need to extend the long arm of politics into business – I thought this became obvious in

the 1970’s!

Inspiring Community Projects

On Saturday 7th July Cllrs Fisher, Goldsmith & Xhaferaj accepted an invitation to visit the exciting Emmaus project in Dales Road.

Emmaus Suffolk is a new and different way of increasing the chances for the homeless and long term unemployed in Suffolk, entering back into work and have a more fulfilling life. The facilities centre around a thriving second-hand store with the recent addition of a little coffee shop selling a range of drinks and cake (I can recommend the Coffee & Walnut). There is a Workshop where people can upcycle used products, some of which were displayed in the Garden. A vital service are the washing machines which will soon be upgraded to industrial machines with extra work being undertaken to install shower facilities.

After a great tour we were treated to tea and cake in the wonderful garden you can see in the picture. All the work is done by volunteers and it provides benefits on so many levels.

A lot of this work is possible due to funding from the North-West Area Committee. Did you know that each year we have £15,000 to spend on community projects in the North West, which is Castle Hill, Whitton & Whitehouse? Each year we sponsor lots of great causes, some a few hundred pounds and some a few thousand.

This is your money, if you have any ideas, or projects that you working on but need extra help with get in touch. Local Conservative Councillors value the communities that we all share, let us help you make them better.

emmaus-gardendavid-claire office@ipswichconservatives.com

 

Car Parking, how much?

bird s eye view of parked cars

 

Labour controlled Ipswich Borough Council have just announced an 8.3% increase in short-stay car parking charges across the town. This is in addition to the massive rise last year. Since 2017 Labour have increased the charges by a mouth-watering 30%, over 7 times the rate of inflation.

The Town Centre is already suffering and Labour’s policy will do nothing to help.

Conservative Councillors want to see two-tier parking charges split between residents & non-residents. The cost would be neutral as one would pay for the other. We are also considering a scheme to encourage shoppers to use one of Ipswich’s many superb independent shops by offering a refund of parking charges when making a purchase.

Ipswich Conservatives believe that a new approach is needed. The tired old-fashioned policies of the Labour group are driving Ipswich to a standstill.

The hard pressed tax-payers of Ipswich deserve a better deal.