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In short: A new digital taskforce has been formed to try to push forward the creation of a digital town centre for Ipswich as part of the Towns Deal funding granted by the government.
What this means: The Digital Taskforce will bring together leading experts in digital technology from Ipswich and the surrounding area.
Working collaboratively, they will assess the current digital performance and potential of the town centre, as well as identifying the best international examples and emerging trends. The result will be an ambitious plan to invest over £2million in Ipswich’s digital infrastructure, allocated from the government’s recently awarded Town Deal funding for the town.
Why this matters: As part of its submission to government, the Town Deal Board evidenced that 84% of Ipswich’s population catchment use smart devices, which increases to 99% for the under 35’s. Nine out of 10 visits to the town, including bookings such as theatre and cinema tickets or restaurant tables, are arranged digitally. The Town Deal investment will embrace these trends.
Ipswich Central is driving the £2m project to improve the town's digital infrastructure with funding from the £25m award announced last month. The new taskforce will be chaired by Chris Pont, chief executive and co-founder of IJYI, a software development company based in Princes Street.
Ipswich Central chair Terry Baxter said: “Working with our Town Deal partners, we recognised the huge potential of a digital programme and Chris will help us to bring together the brightest IT brains in the area to help us to work up our ambitious investment plans."
The Taskforce's chair Chris Pont said: “I am Ipswich born and bred, feel incredibly lucky to have an historic Waterfront with some unique venues and a number of picturesque parks with excellent facilities. Digital Ipswich will help to knit all of this together, keep people updated on what’s happening, help businesses increase their customer base, and generate a much greater sense of community and pride for our town, with innovative use of technology and data.”
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has also committed to working closely with the Taskforce "to deliver improvements that embrace new technologies and have the potential to transform peoples’ lives and protect the future of local businesses."