The Greener Ipswich Project, funded by the Governments Levelling Up; Town Fund, is a partnership between the community, businesses and Ipswich Borough Council. The project aims to make the Town Centre more attractive and sustainable by making it greener.
This project is now beginning to see changes in the heart of the town, with the most recent element being the installation of flower planters with seating close to the Cardinal Wolsey statue on Rose Lane near St Nicholas' Street. These planters contain a range of medicinal and aromatic plants and herbs, many of them having been used for centuries and some dating from the time of Wolsey.
Faye Harburt is chair of the Greener Ipswich team. She says of the project: “It is important to the group to see Ipswich Town Centre greener. Trees and flowers make people feel good, they are so important for wellbeing. The shade provided by trees also helps us all on hot sunny days. More trees and greenery in the Town Centre and in the waterfront area will improve the environment for residents and visitors.
Project group members engage in healthy, outdoor, communal activities, helping to create a vibrant atmosphere and improve the area for all, playing a key role in regenerating Ipswich.
There are a range of other important environmental benefits with this project too. From storm water management, improving air quality, increasing biodiversity and reducing the effects of heat in the town in the height of summer. We have already received a lovely range of thanks and comments when we have been out watering the Waterfront planters, so know that many people are already appreciating our work.”
The initial target for Greener Ipswich is to create a green walking route from Christchurch Park through the Town Centre to Ipswich Waterfront. There have already been success, with the area around St Peter’s Church being one of the first locations to be transformed. Wildflowers and shrub planting is in place on the roundabout here. The embankment in front of the Church has been improved and a bespoke semi-circular bench made of recycled local oak is now in place. The bench is proving a popular resting point for people walking to and from the town centre from the Stoke side of the river over Stoke Bridge.
Also on Ipswich Waterfront, at St Peter’s Wharf, there is an impressive display of more than 30 up-cycled wooden flower planters, the result of many weeks work by the project team. This part of the project - entirely run by volunteers - has repurposed former Suffolk County Council planters used for road closures to create an attractive walkway of flowers alongside the river wall at Ipswich Waterfront. Eden Rose Coppice Trust’s Men’s Shed at Brickmakers Wood have also greatly supported this part of the project, with additional voluntary help to achieve watering duties!
In the Town Centre, Queen Street and Tavern Street have seen local businesses and Ipswich Institute members adopt a Bicycle Rack with planters to care for the plants.
Faye Harburt adds: “Initially Greener Ipswich is focussed on one key route, but we hope this will encourage other partners to come up with initiatives for other areas of Ipswich. We'd love to see more green spaces and pocket parks too! Ipswich is already a Tree City of the World, but we can’t rest on our laurels. There is always room for more trees in our town.
Visit the Greener Ipswich website for further information and updates.