Went to Number 10 to talk to the Prime Minister’s officials about Ipswich Town centre.
There is so much I can say but these are some of the points I made.
The police need to be given a clear steer that they should adopt a zero tolerance approach to anti social behaviour in the Town. Men hanging around in large groups and behaving in an anti social way should be engaged with and moved on. This hasn’t been happening enough.
Other local authorities in the eastern region should be blocked from sending their homeless people to Ipswich Town centre. They have an obligation to tackle their own homelessness issues, not send people to us. This is placing an additional burden on our Town centre.
The Government plan to introduce new laws to increase the punishment for shop lifting.
These need to be accelerated. Shop lifted has become debilitating for many Town centre businesses. There needs to be far more of a deterrent.
Meaningful business rate reform.
With regard to Ipswich Town Deal. Labour led Ipswich Borough Council have been one of the worst performing councils in the region. Government needs to keep pressure on them along with myself to ensure timescales are more ambitious for delivering each of the 11 projects.
I welcome the Government money from the shared prosperity fund and safer streets fund which is increasing the number of police officers in the Town centre. We need further support though. The central policing grants needs to be changed to ensure Suffolk police get fair funding. This would see an even greater police presence in the Town centre.