A new report has named Ipswich as one of the three fastest-growing city economies in the UK, alongside Cambridge and Reading.
The UK Powerhouse Report, published by Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, is a quarterly report that outlines economic growth and its regional effects for businesses across the UK. According to the latest report, Ipswich saw GVA growth of 2.5% in the first three months of 2018 – up from 1.9% in the final quarter of 2017 – with only Cambridge enjoying a faster growth rate (2.6%).
Growth in both cities has been attributed in large part to their fast-growing technology sectors, with a further boost provided by BT’s construction of the UK’s first practical quantum-secured high-speed fibre network between Ipswich and Cambridge.
Indeed, both the present and the future are looking bright for East Anglia as a whole, with Norwich also making it into the top five. Despite expectations of slower growth by the end of the year, the report predicts that Ipswich, Norwich and Cambridge will still be in the top ten by the final quarter of 2028.
David Ellesmere, Ipswich Borough Council Leader, said: “This latest report underlines the steady growth in Ipswich’s economy and is welcome news not only for the Council and its partners but also for new investors and entrepreneurs who recognise what Ipswich has to offer. We are committed through our training and skills agenda and through our work in the Vision Group to take advantage of our excellent location, new university and our reputation as a centre for innovation. This, in addition to an enviable quality of life, is driving Ipswich’s economy forward.”
The chair of Suffolk Chamber in Greater Ipswich, Catherine Johnson, pointed towards the ongoing regeneration of Ipswich, including improvements to the rail and road networks, telling the East Anglian Daily Times that “the attractiveness of the county town and its surrounding area is set to be further boosted.”
The housing boom
Ipswich’s growth as a regional business hub has led to increased demand for housing in the area. Currently, Ipswich Borough Council plans to start work on 200 affordable homes this year while 815 new homes have been approved to be built near Westerfield Road in Ipswich as part of the Ipswich Garden Suburb Plan.
Most significantly, however, 2,000 new homes are set to be built at Adastral Park in Martlesham Heath, adjacent to BT’s research & development HQ, as well as Innovation Martlesham, a cluster of 100 technology companies. While the development has divided opinion, it shows how Ipswich is becoming a more desirable place to live.
As stressed in the report, it’s important that policymakers now provide the required infrastructure to support Ipswich – and the other cities – as they evolve.