Ipswich town centre study will look at 'must change' future
A study into the future of a town centre has begun to look at ways of helping it "thrive in the future".
The £9,000 survey will look at the challenges faced by businesses in Ipswich, the borough council's Labour leader said.
David Ellesmere said the findings were due to be published over the summer.
Ipswich Central, which represents businesses in the town centre, said "creative ideas" were needed to help the high street.
Mr Ellesmere said the state of retail was "a fast-moving situation".
"The updated retail study is needed to ensure we have a robust and up-to-date evidence base for planning policies in the town centre that reflect current realities," he said.
"This will look at how much retail space is required and what other uses, such as leisure or housing, may also be required to ensure that Ipswich town centre thrives in future."
The Local Democracy Reporting Service said the study would look at business rates, threats from out-of-town retail parks and online shopping and what would be needed in the future.
It would help inform the council's local plan being drawn up for the town this year, and follows on from a joint study with Suffolk Coastal District Council carried out by WYG in 2017.
More on long-term planning for Ipswich town centre:
- Town centre concerns dominate local elections
- Consultants' plan has 'wrong priority'
- Council criticised over out-of-town centre Waitrose approval
- 'Waterfront has to be integrated with town centre'
Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central, said: "Retail remains absolutely vital, but we have got to face the reality that it will not dominate, to the extent it has historically, in the future.
"The town centre and high streets must change."
But Ian Fisher, Conservative group leader at the council, questioned the use of £9,000, claiming it could have been better spent engaging with the public for their views.
Ipswich's Cornhill recently underwent a £3.6m revamp.