Future of culture and sport in Ipswich
Published Thursday 9th December 2010
An expanded arts festival, more blockbuster events and the completion of a £4 million investment in swimming are all highlighted in Ipswich's new Cultural Strategy.
The strategy, which will be taken to the Borough Council's ruling Executive next week to approve consultation with key stakeholders and the wider community by Culture portfolio-holder Andrew Cann, outlines the delivery of key arts and sports goals.
- Completing the £3.4 million investment programme at Crown Pools next year - this follows a £600,000 refurbishment at Fore Street;
- Bringing more open-air events to Ipswich;
- Formally pledging £1 million to help the project aiming to bring life back to Broomhill lido;
- Developing the £600,000 fund-raising appeal to buy the former Ipswich Art School for use as a permanent contemporary arts space;
- Applying for Lottery and other funding to develop an 'arts quarter' around the Art School and Ipswich Museum;
- Aspire to make Gainsborough sports centre a state-of-the-art sports village;
- Review operations at Maidenhall Sports centre (owned by Suffolk County Council) in order to cut operating costs.
Councillor Cann said: "This is a very exciting long-term blueprint for culture and leisure in Ipswich. Yes, we do face enormous financial pressures and we must cut costs but this Council has an incredibly successful record when it comes to doing more for less in both culture and sport. We will continue to work with private sector partners and others to deliver an enhanced programme.
"We are very excited by our events programme; we are pleased with the improved programming - and audiences - at the Ipswich Regent; we are committed to keeping the Grand Hall in the Corn Exchange for entertainment; we will complete our ambitious investment into swimming and we will enhance our key sports centres when and where funding allows.
"Of course, we have to cut operating costs, and Maidenhall is by far the least used and most 'old fashioned' sports centre in the town. We operate this for the owner, Suffolk County Council, but this costs the council taxpayer a lot of money. The past few years has seen the development of many more sports facilities in the town - Chantry Sports Centre, Suffolk One and the new arena at Suffolk New College - so we must recognise this changing landscape."
Councillor Cann added: "But with our Olympics partnership with Azerbaijan, our commitment to sporting excellence and our leading role in regional arts and culture, we will move forward with what is a very exciting programme."
The Cultural Strategy will be discussed by Executive on 14th December and it is hoped a consultation exercise will then commence and continue until 31st January 2011.