Very strong support for the northern bypass clear from my transport survey returns, unsurprisingly. I was busy working my way through the responses to my transport survey on Sunday. The survey had a question about the northern bypass. I’ve now completed some number crunching in relation to the returns from Rushmere ward. Overall, 84% support the northern bypass. Residents were asked to rate their support for the northern bypass on a scale of 0-10 (10=strong support, 0=strong opposition). On the whole, the average numerical score for those who responded was 8.8. It will be interesting to find out what the average scores are from the other wards that have been surveyed. I appreciate that this will hardly come as a surprise to many however the strength of support is particularly significant. Campaigning for the northern bypass was already my number one transport priority, these survey returns tell me that this should absolutely remain the case.
Earlier this month, I visited the Port of Ipswich for the first time to be taken on a tour of the site and to meet with the leadership team from Associated British Ports (ABP). I’m prepared to say that I think I underestimated both the size of the operation and its massive importance to the region’s economy.
The Port of Ipswich covers over 280 acres of land in total, but it’s the 21-acre island site at the heart of it that has been the subject of the majority of discussion over the past few years.
The island site presents a huge opportunity for the Town and its very important that its fully utilised. Developed in the right way and it could take the Waterfront and the Town to the next level.
From the meetings I had, its clear that ABP are very serious about bringing the site forward for development. I very much hope that the County Council will bring forward the two smaller bridges to connect with the island. Clearly certainty over this would be the catalyst to accelerate activity.
Ideally in future, the island could be a real centre point of activity. My preference would be for something that creates a real buzz! Perhaps an arena?
Fascinating tour of ABP Port of Ipswich this afternoon with Paul Ager and Andy Constable. Easy to forget its huge importance with the Port of Felixstowe on its door step but it employs over 1,000 people and is the number one grain exporter in the country. Long discussion about the future of the island site and the huge potential it holds for Ipswich.
I was delighted to move into my new flat just off the Waterfront a couple of months ago. Never before have I lived by the water, so it makes a pleasant change. However, I see it as my job to campaign for things that will make Ipswich an even better place to live.
One of these priorities is transport. For me, the overriding infrastructure priority needs to be a northern bypass! When it comes to campaigning for this I plan to leave no stone left unturned. So far I’ve met with officials from the Department for Transport on two occasions and the County Council leader, to make clear my strong support. Interestingly, I also had a long chat with the Secretary of State for International Trade about it as well. Stressing to him the importance of a northern bypass from the perspective of our country’s largest and busiest sea container port: the Port of Felixstowe.
This issue needs to be covered from multiple angles and I will not shy away from being robust in calling for significant financial investment from the Government. Ipswich needs and deserves better transport infrastructure and less traffic. Rest assured, I’m on the case!
candidate for Ipswich
Works to improve St Peter’s Wharf in Ipswich are due to start in the new year. The work,
which is being delivered by Suffolk County Council (SCC) in partnership with Ipswich
Borough Council (IBC), will provide a better experience for pedestrians and cyclists travelling through the wharf and will further improve the Waterfront area.
The aim of the scheme is to enhance the area by introducing footways and a clearly defined
carriageway. A seating area will be created along with the installation of trees and bicycle
parking. The addition of trees and seating area will provide an area for people to relax and take in the Waterfront surroundings and with the footway on the southern side raised to
allow views across the New Cut.
The works, which will begin on the 7 January 2019, will take place along the wharf between
Stoke Bridge, Bridge Street and Foundry Lane, opposite Dance East. The scheme has been designed to cater for the high number of pedestrians and cyclists that use the area as well as accommodating large vehicles accessing the Port. Funding for the scheme, which will cost in the region of £750,000, was secured via a bid to the Coastal Community Fund by Ipswich Vision.
Paul West. Suffolk County Council cabinet member for Ipswich, communities and waste
said; “I am delighted that this work is taking place, a lot of development has taken place on
the waterfront over the past few years and St Peter’s Wharf has become a much-used route
for road users. These vital improvements will mean that visitors to the waterfront whether
it be pedestrians, cyclist or motorists have the opportunity to enjoy the St Peter’s Wharf area.”
Terry Hunt, chairman of the Ipswich Vision board said; “This is an incredibly important
gateway to our wonderful waterfront and these enhancements will enable this prominent
part of our town to give a much-improved impression to residents and visitors. This
scheme is another crucial example of the exciting regeneration of our county town.”
It is predicted that the scheme will take up to six months to complete due to improvements
that will need to be made to underground infrastructure. The work which will be delivered
six days a week (Monday – Saturday between 7am – 5pm) must also be completed in stages
to ensure full access is maintained for all road users throughout the work.
For the duration of the scheme, there will be an out-bound lane closure in place and
traffic exiting the dock will be required to exit via Foundry Lane. Temporary traffic signals
will also be operational at times throughout the scheme. The signals will be manually
controlled, including peak times from 7am to 7pm each working day. This is to alleviate
delays and traffic queues.
Tom Hunt, has today (31/12/2018) called on Ipswich Labour MP Sandy Martin to make clear that he fully respects the clear verdict that the people of Ipswich expressed in June 2016 to leave the EU and to oppose a second referendum that would include remaining in the EU as an option.
The call follows a column that was published in the Star last month by Mr Martin that stated, “In any case, given the referendum vote in 2016 it would be undemocratic to cancel Brexit without another referendum.” In addition to this column piece in the Star, the Ipswich Labour Party also published a “BREXIT UPDATE” in the Ipswich Flyer free publication that stated,” But if, as I suspect, that option is not available to us then let us ask the people directly, including those who were too young to vote last time, because they are the residents who will have to live the longest with the consequences.
The author of the Flyer piece is unknown with the piece simply titled, “News from the Ipswich Labour Party.”
Tom Hunt stated:
“I disagree with Mr Martin’s view that it would be undemocratic to cancel Brexit without another referendum. My view is that it would be deeply undemocratic to cancel Brexit FULL STOP. The democratic verdict to leave the EU, expressed by over 58% of people in Ipswich needs to be fully respected, no ifs or buts.
“Over the past few weeks its become clear to me that Sandy Martin MP and the Ipswich Labour Party are increasingly flirting with a second referendum that is motivated primarily by a desire to overturn the verdict of the June 2016 referendum.
“Just over two years ago almost 40,000 people in Ipswich voted to leave the EU, over 58% of those who voted, its imperative that this verdict is fully respected.
“I’m glad that Mr Martin believes it would be undemocratic to simply revoke the referendum result with a stroke of a pen. However I want him to go further by categorically ruling out personally supporting a second referendum that would include remaining in the EU as an option. Perhaps I’m wrong but it would seem to me that the Ipswich Labour Party are extremely close to publicly supporting such an option. In my view, to do so would be treat the clear democratic verdict that was expressed in Ipswich just over two years ago with contempt.
“I appreciate Brexit is a divisive issue and that there are many different opinions on the best way forward and the best type of deal. By all means, lets have that debate. However, please lets put talk regarding a second referendum and cancelling Brexit to bed. It’s last thing we need.”
Tom Hunt added:
“As it happens I voted to leave the EU. However, this isn’t about how each one of us voted. It’s about respecting the democratic vote took place both in the country and in Ipswich. I hope Mr Martin is able to alleviate my concerns regarding his position on the issue.”
A recent radio interview suggests that Mr. Martin has learned nothing since then.
… our campaign to save head and neck cancer services at Ipswich Hospital in 2008, when Labour planned to close them? After Ben‘s petition, the closure was duly cancelled in 2010.
Now be ready for the additional £20 billion per annum that is programmed for the National Health Service. That is more than £18.2 million.
The last four weeks for me have had a strong focus on education. All in all I’ve visited five secondary schools, meeting with the head teacher at each. These meetings have been extremely useful and have given me a real insight into the challenges there are within our schools.
During my meetings a number of themes have emerged that I plan to raise with the appropriate people and Government organisations over the comings months. Teacher recruitment and retention seems to be an issue at many of our schools. Yes this is a national problem also but there do seem to be some factors specific to Ipswich that need to be addressed. It’s important that being a teacher in Ipswich schools is as attractive as possible. Great teachers should be attracted to come to Ipswich and its about finding a way of making teaching in Ipswich schools as appealing as possible. It’s not good that many of our Head’s are constantly worried about losing some of their best teachers.
Last year it was announced that Ipswich would be an Education Opportunity Area. In short this is bringing millions of pounds of extra Government money into schools in Ipswich. This needs to be welcomed. I’ve been very interested to learn about some of the ways this extra money has been spent. Some excellent initiatives have been launched in Ipswich schools as a result of the Government making Ipswich and Education Opportunity Area. However, concerns were also raised about the strings attached with accessing the funding. My view is that we need to trust our teachers to get on with the job of investing the extra money in initiatives they know will work for their school. Yes there needs to be sound process but we need to minimize the bureaucratic burden placed upon teachers who are already under a significant amount of pressure.
Unsurprisingly, each of the head teachers also raised concerns about county lines. It’s sickening that many young vulnerable people in Ipswich can become the victim to this. The only way that we can hope to tackle this is by working together. Multi agency. Close working and strong relationships between school leaders and the police is an absolute must. The pastoral support provided by schools in many cases appears to be very strong. However, its important that teachers should be able to focus fully on the teaching. The pressure on teachers in our schools is significant and their roles more diverse than many seem to realise.
In summary then there is much to be positive about. We have some great teachers and in general all the schools I’ve visited appear to be heading in the right direction and improving. However they face many challenges. Funding, teacher recruitment and retention, county lines being three that immediately spring to mind. Our secondary schools vary as do their intakes and some of the challenges they face are therefore different. My initial view is that Suffolk schools need fairer funding from central Government, there needs to be more initiatives and thought given to make teaching in Ipswich schools as attractive as possible (financial incentives may need to be considered), and there needs to be strong and close working relationships between the schools and the police when it comes to county lines and other anti-social behaviour problems. Ideally there needs to be one person within the police who is responsible for liaison with a particular school. Its important that senior teachers are able to develop close relationships based on trust with the local police.
The Education Opportunity Area for Ipswich will last for three years and we’re one year in. The funding is very welcome but at its best the initiative could be transformational for Ipswich schools. It’s important that one year in the concerns teachers have raised associated with the bidding process are addressed. We need to ensure that the initiative is a game changer for schools in Ipswich and a real catalyst for the future. The opportunity should not be missed.
I have almost finished my tour of secondary schools within Ipswich at which point I will start visiting some of our primary schools. This Friday I will also be meeting with the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Suffolk.
The overwhelming transport infrastructure priority for Ipswich is a northern relief road. Over the past month it’s been made clear to me whoever I’ve spoken to just how important this is for the Town. The reality is that this infrastructure should have been delivered 20/30 years ago but it hasn’t and the people of Ipswich have paid the price for this through increasing levels of traffic.
As long as I’ve been alive the whole of East Anglia hasn’t received the level of investment it needs to upgrade its transport infrastructure. This is definitely the case in Ipswich. Whatever the colour of the Government of the day, the adequate level of investment in transport infrastructure hasn’t been forthcoming. Challenging this is a key priority for me.
I have already met with the Leader of Suffolk County Council, Councillor Matthew Hicks to impress upon him the importance of the road for Ipswich and have a number of further meetings arranged over the next few weeks with other key stakeholders. Securing the investment for this road won’t be easy but my view is that we need to be ambitious in demanding Ipswich’s fair share when it comes to infrastructure investment.
I welcome the fact that in this year’s budget statement the Government have made £30 billion available for road upgrades across the country. East Anglia must get its fair share of this investment and a northern relief road for Ipswich must be near the top of the list of regional priorities.
I pledge to the people of Ipswich that over the coming years, as the Conservative Prospective Parliamentary candidate I will fight tooth and nail to get action on this issue! I strongly believe that I have the skills, drive and knowledge to make an impact.
Over the coming months I will provide regular updates regarding where I’m at regarding the campaign following the meetings I currently have in my diary.
When the opportunity for a new Association Chairman arose at the beginning of 2018, I jumped at the chance to be elected for this role. Part of my “manifesto” commitment to Ipswich members was to get a Conservative Parliamentary Candidate in place as soon as the central party gave the green light. I pushed our central office to do this, and was delighted that once the local elections were out of the way, we commenced this journey.
The Conservative Party has prescribed candidate selection procedures which have to be followed. These take a while, but culminated in our Special Members Meeting on 27 September, which was moderated by former Suffolk Coastal Conservative Association Chairman, Graham Dines .Our 3 candidates were Alex Deane, Joel Charles and Tom Hunt.
I asked the members to make a good choice for candidate, and they certainly made an excellent decision in voting for Tom. My thanks to Joel and Alex who were also very high quality candidates, and we wish them the best of success. I am sure that they will both make excellent Parliamentary candidates and MPs elsewhere.
Tom has fantastic experience in fighting for what local people want in their communities, as a district councillor and now working for the elected mayor of Peterborough and Cambridgeshire, where they are pushing for investment in this region. His proficiency will now be brought to Ipswich.
The current MP for Ipswich is failing to stand up for what this town needs and does little but complain about what the Conservative government and County Council are doing, and telling the electorate that he knows better than the 38,655 (or 58%)of Ipswich electors who voted for Brexit. Tom is a breath of fresh air and will work constructively with the Councils, Government and Tim Passmore.
Ipswich Conservative Association -Chairman
Ipswich Conservative Association -Chairman