Friday, 22 August 2014

Wish you were here! Ipswich sells new postcards

A series of new postcards featuring Ipswich’s public art has been produced, with photographs by local photographer and entrepreneur Fran Sibthorpe. 
 The postcards feature statues of three famous people connected with the town: Cardinal Thomas Wolsey (Henry VIII’s Chancellor, who was born and grew up in Ipswich), Prince Alexander Obolensky (England rugby player and fighter pilot, who was based at Martlesham Heath during World War Two) and cartoonist Carl Giles (who lived and worked in the area), creator of the famous “Grandma” character.
One of IBCs projects has been to fund the ‘Ipswich 18’ at Ipswich’s Eastern Enterprise Hub, which supports local people with business ideas they need to develop and test out, and Fran was one of the students.
The Eastern Enterprise Hub helps individuals to start and grow businesses through learning programmes that focus on the individual. The EEHub encourages and supports aspiring entrepreneurs from all walks of life, of all ages, across many disciplines.
Ipswich Tourist Information Centre Manager David Stainer added: "These are the first of several new souvenirs and cards we hope to see produced in the coming months. Sending postcards and taking home souvenirs is an important part of many people's holiday or visit - and also a good way for a destination to be promoted. We intend to involve local artists and businesses to come up with fresh ideas and images to use to help publicise the town.”
The postcards exclusively from the Ipswich Tourist Information Centre in St Stephen’s Church in the town, priced 25p each.
Further information and pictures: 
David Stainer, tel: 01473 432018

Monday, 18 August 2014

Ipswich Conservative News and Action

Normally August would be a quiet time, a month in which to catch one's breath and to reflect.

However, we Ipswich conservative activists have been working several times a week to talk to residents, listen to their problems and views but most of all have been busy holding the labour administration to account.

There are so many decisions they are taking that appear to be riding roughshod over the thinking and wishes of anybody else. I can forgive them for not wanting to indulge their opposition but this is not what I am alluding to here.

Let's take the Ravenswood proposal. Nearly 100 council homes that the local residents are up in arms about - see my last post and yet the language and stance shows they have already made up their minds about this.

The issue for me is one of common sense - In a few years time those new homes may very well have been bought by the tenants under the right to buy which will mean we will lose an asset, and the tenant will have bought at a huge discount, whereas putting funds into shared ownership or the Help to Buy supports people in owning their own home from the beginning. But then that would be more inspiring and empowering, wouldn't it?!

Developers have been put off in the past by the Labour administration's insistence on things like 35% social housing to be included, which means that Labour now use under-building as an excuse to grow their share of the vote with large council developments. The public meeting showed that others disagree with them and would prefer to see help in other ways, alongside building a few council houses but peppered around the town. This way integration doesn't have to wait for tenants to buy their house.

Before that we had the call in on Argyle street concerning the Bangladeshi Support Centre. This has caused many problems within the community because it seems that Cllr Ellesmere was dealing with only one part of the group whereas another part of the group was also hoping to benefit from the site - I won't go into too much detail here - and had no knowledge of what the Labour administration were doing.

This means that Cllr Ellesmere is having to rethink the whole idea - something that wouldn't have been necessary if he had opened up the lease to all, using a competitive process. The whole point of my call in was because of my concern about fairness and openness but I didn't expect my case to be proved immediately afterwards. It was because of the publicity brought by the call in that other parts of the Bangladeshi community were made aware.
This has caused hurt to a wonderful group of people and that is why I have left them to it. It is far better for there to be a win/win situation rather than have even more newspaper articles. I will not be giving out any press releases on this subject and just hope that Cllr Ellesmere does the right thing.

Overview and Scrutiny (who agreed to look at this as part of my request at the call in) can ensure that this never happens again.

On a lighter note, we had a stall at the Ipswich maritime festival for all 3 days of the event and covered by conservative councillors and activists. We gave out Ben's newsletters, surveys and balloons. My own grandson proudly took one of the balloons but burst it within an hour, which brought a few tears so I made sure it was replaced the next day. I went again but this time with my whole family on the Sunday, which gave me much joy as I watched my grandchildren having a great time at the children's fun fair and making clay pots to take home to paint. It was a great event - and I never went near the beer tent!

Last but not least, I have instigated a new regular community activity for Stoke park in the Cambridge drive area. A resident brought up something that had been bothering me for quite a while, pertaining to that one part of my ward, which was a lack of a community centre. I asked an IBC community development officer to look at providing some activities at the Chantry Gym Centre on Birkfield drive and to cut a long story short, I will be seeking funds at the next Area Committee meeting, which I know will be supported by my fellow stoke park councillors. This will pay for the hire of the room, for a year, and we hope to bring in a variety of leisure activities for those that live nearby - crafts, pilates, tea dances, film evenings and perhaps a lunch. Look out for the flyers and posters which will be advertising it soon.

The northern fringe was an important paper at the last executive and you can see the film of the meeting courtesy of Ipswich Spy. However I will blog in more detail about this when it is brought to the next full council meeting 17th September. Ben Gummer spoke at the executive as we are concerned about the masterplan and infrastructure - so watch this space.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Ravenswood Newsletter - New Homes

I have been asked to post the following information from a newsletter on behalf of those campaigning against the building of new council homes on Ravenswood.

I am not on the planning committee, nor was I at the recent meeting, which by all accounts was quite volatile but I give it here -
Details of joining in the campaign is included.

The Ravenswood Action Group met at the Golden Hind on the 6th of August. Thank you for attending, signing the petition, objection letters and putting forward your views.

Unfortunately this is not enough. More needs to be done in order to STOP the IBC from using your money to build a Council Estate on your doorstep and not allowing you a say in the matter.

Attend our next meeting:

This will be a very short meeting(30-45mins) held on Monday the 18th of August at The Raven pub at 19h30.

We will be registering members of the RAG, Ravenswood Action Group and agreeing a constitution. Committee members will be appointed.

We will also be collecting money towards our legal fund. It’s important to remember that we are forced to pay approximately £150-£200 on council tax every month, and we get refuse removal and not a lot more for it. The infuriating thing is that our taxes fund the social housing project in question yet we cannot demand the mixed tenure we were promised by the council. The Ravenswood Action Group is asking for £100 per household contribution towards our legal fund(any excess will be returned back to individuals by the solicitors). 

This £100 could be the best investment you’ve made if it prevents the 5% drop in Ravenswood house values predicted by local estate agents, it could save you up to £9700.




Start Petitioning

We’re hoping that 40 RAG members can each get a minumum of 50 signatures from any Ipswich Resident. This includes colleagues, friends, family etc. The only requirement is that they reside within the borough. Its useful remembering that you can get every adult member of a household to sign.


Katherine Whyte and Amanda Crampton will be co-ordinating the petitions and will be happy to answer your queries. Their email addresses are:

Kindly email if you are able to attend the next meeting at The Raven Pub at 19h30 on Monday the 18th of August