The Council is issuing an updated statement on its response to Coronavirus every Friday. This is the 12th such statement.
Each of these statements has three sections – as follows:
All decisions that have been made this week – and key new information about Council services (etc)
A brief comment from the Council Leader – or in his absence – his Deputy.
In addition, we also publish - at the same time – three additional documents:
We will re-open Crown Car Park on the same day with free parking until 3rd July. Opening hours will be 10.30am to 4.30pm and motorists should not park for longer than five hours.
The Council has been allocated £1.24m to spend on discretionary business grants and is inviting applications from businesses who qualify for the funding.
The Council is helping St Elizabeth Hospice stage its annual “Suffolk Remembers” fund-raiser, providing the Corn Exchange as a virtual setting for filming and promoting this virtual candle-lit event which will be streamed online on 21st June. This will not involve the public accessing the Corn Exchange for the event.
In response to the challenges of Coronavirus, Ipswich Borough Council’s position has been updated in the following areas this week:
Brown Bins: Last week was the third week of collections of brown bins since we restarted, we were making the second collection of brown bins from those residents who had their bins collected during the first week of the restarted service. We collected 309 tonnes of garden waste last week, which as a comparison is within 1% of the 307 tonnes collected in the same week last year and is about half of the weight of the material collected during the first week of the restarted collections.
Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund: The Council has been allocated £1.24m to spend on discretionary grants. It has now formally launched its Policy and applications for grants can now be submitted. The closing date is Friday 26th June 2020. The Policy and the link to the application process is available at: www.ipswich.gov.uk/businessratesgrant The maximum grant given out will be £10,000. The types of businesses that can apply are:
In addition the Council will also make its Fund available to the following types of businesses:
Funding from Government: So far, Ipswich Borough Council, has received four payments from Government that relate to the national response to Coronavirus. Two amounts (in total just over £1.4m) support the Council in its response to Coronavirus – i.e. the Council has the ability to choose how to spend it. The other two amounts can only be used to pass on to others - nearly £26.5m for the Council to pay to business as grants and just over £1.5m to cover the Ipswich element of the Hardship Fund – primarily for those receiving working age Local Council Tax Support. Additionally, an allowance of £5,250 has been made by Government (that the Council will draw down) to cover rough sleeping service costs. The claim was completed on Wednesday 6th May for the full amount. On 24th May 2020 the Government launched the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund. Ipswich Borough Council has been allocated (but not yet received) £120,858 from that Fund.
Arts / Cultural Performances: A decent summary of arts and cultural activities going on in the town during these challenging times can be found at: www.suffolklibraries.co.uk/events-activities/online-and-streamed-events/arts-activities/. Each week we will draw attention to one organisation and what performances (etc) they are making publicly available. New Wolsey Theatre has curated a fantastic collection called Bounce, their ‘brand new fortnightly curation of the best arts and culture on the web right now’ – see: www.newwolseybounce.co.uk/. Meanwhile, you can also book for their Christmas Panto! This year it’s Jack and the Beanstalk, from 26th November www.wolseytheatre.co.uk/shows/jack-the-beanstalk/#prices.
Town Centre Plans: The Prime Minister announced on 25th May 2020 that non-essential retail stores may now be allowed to re-open on 15th June 2020. This is two weeks later than previously suggested. The Borough Council continues to work with a number of partners – Ipswich Central, Suffolk Constabulary and Suffolk County Council (as well as the wider Ipswich Vision group) to plan how the town centre could work safely with more business open and more people in the centre – whilst still enabling compliance with Government rules / guidance – such as social distancing. On 3rd June the first component of these plans were unveiled – including the decision to close Upper Brook Street between 10:30 and 16:30 to vehicles as a temporary measure to support safety and social distancing. Further information will be provided next week and will be set out on the following websites: www.ipswich.gov.uk/businessratesgrant and ipswichcentral.com.
Crown Car Park: We intend to re-open Crown Car Park on the same day that ‘non-essential’ retailers can re-open in the Town Centre - which is currently planned to be Monday 15th June. The opening hours will initially be 10:30 to 16:30 Monday to Sunday. Use of the car park will be free of charge up to and including 3rd July, although any individual stay should not be longer than 5 hours.
Ipswich Market: In accordance with the Government guidance we are allowing more market traders to start trading again and we expect there to be a larger number of stall-holders at the Ipswich Market on Tuesday 9th June with more attending on the Friday and Saturday of that week as well. From our discussions with the traders we expect the number of traders to gradually increase week on week during June. The market will be in its usual position of Princes St, Giles Circus, Butter Market and Queen St, with stalls being spread out further than usual to allow social distancing guidelines to be adhered to for shoppers and passers-by and it will only be trading on a Tuesday, Friday and Saturday until further notice.
Sources of External Funding for Groups: 17 sports clubs in Ipswich have received a total of £36,209 from the Sport England Covid-19 Community Emergency Fund, which is designed to support local sports clubs at risk during this period. This works out as an average of £2,129 per club. A total of 19 clubs have applied with 2 not successful. The success rate for Ipswich based clubs has been very high compared to the rest of the county. Full details can be found at www.sportengland.org/how-we-can-help/our-funds/community-emergency-fund.
Ipswich Fit Programme: Since the closure of our sport and leisure facilities we have continued to provide a fitness programme with online classes. Our Fitness Team have live-streamed two classes a day and provided daily fitness videos. We have also provided a 10-day challenge of fitness activities. As a result we have seen over 60,000 people view and participate in these sessions, an average of over 150 people per class, which is higher than we could ever accommodate physically in one of our leisure centres. Our subscribers on YouTube and followers on Facebook have significantly increased and reflect huge growth and a continued engagement from existing and potential new customers. We are currently exploring online platform options as a way of providing online fitness videos and classes. This technology will also allow customers to track their fitness activities, set goals and will allow our instructors to set programmes and other sessions for customers. More information on the classes can be accessed at: www.ipswichfit.co.uk/fitness-classes . The timetable for next week is:
Virtual Committee Meetings: The Council has invested in technology to enable “virtual” public meetings, including Planning and Development Committee, Area Committees and Executive to take place this month. The first three meetings took place earlier this week. Details of all meetings including agendas and the live streams are available on the Council’s website democracy.ipswich.gov.uk.
Council buildings [including the Regent Theatre, the Town Hall & Corn Exchange, Shop Mobility, Swimming Pools & Sports Centres, the Tourist Information Centre and visitor centres in Christchurch and Holywells parks, and the Museum, Art Gallery and Christchurch Mansion] will remain closed to the public until such time as the Government restrictions are lifted and we have the ability to re-open them safely. We are working with the promoters of shows that were due to be at the Regent and Corn Exchange to find new dates for shows in the autumn and beyond and will continue to contact ticket holders as these arrangements are made. We have not been accepting bookings for any of our venues to hire until at least the end of June and this will remain our position for now.
The Borough Council intends to issue a detailed statement every Friday while communicating more regularly about individual issues and services.
If you wish to contact the Council about anything please contact us via www.ipswich.gov.uk or 01473 432000 rather than visit Grafton House or the Customer Services Centre).
We know that these statements will generate a number of customer queries but we ask you to use the ‘contact us’ form on our website.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor David Ellesmere, should be available to comment if there are any media enquiries – he can be contacted via the Council’s Press Office (07736 826104).
Council Leader David Ellesmere said: “We are continuing to make progress with detailed plans for reopening the town centre from 15th June. The Council is working with many partners on this and we all want to reassure residents and visitors that their safety remains our top priority.
“We expect the town centre to gradually become busier over the next few weeks. To make life easier for visitors and to help support town centre retailers will be offering free parking at Crown Multi-storey from 15th June when non-essential shops start trading again until 3rd July.
“More people are using our parks and open spaces and the vast majority recognise the need to stick to social distancing guidelines. This is essential if we are going to save lives and protect the NHS. Although the lockdown is easing, the pandemic is far from over and the government’s guidance is that popular Council facilities such as the Regent Theatre, sports centres and museums must remain closed until further notice.”
Councillor David Ellesmere, Leader, Ipswich Borough Council