Chamber News

Jackie Sadek appointed as Ipswich Vision Chair

Jackie Sadek appointed as Ipswich Vision Chair

The former government advisor who declared that she tipped Ipswich as “hot…. seriously hot” has been handed the role of Chair of the Ipswich Vision project.

Urban regeneration expert, Jackie Sadek, will take the helm from 1st November. It is an important time, with the town centre slowly recovering from the economic shock of covid, and with a bold new strategy in place to create the UK’s first Connected Town Centre. This will include new homes being built from undeveloped and underused buildings, and many more people living centrally as a result.

Last week, Ipswich Central published a 5-year plan in which it pledged an intention to spend up to £4 million on transforming life in the town centre, alongside the £25 million committed through the government’s Town Deal programme. One week later the BID’s Chair, Terry Baxter, has been able to reveal the appointment of Sadek to lead the initiative.

Today he said: “On behalf of town centre businesses, we offered to fund the appointment of a new Vision Chair on the clear understanding that it must be a proven urban regeneration expert who would help us to drive forward real change in Ipswich. We need someone who has done something on this scale before and who has the determination, the expertise, and the contacts to turn the Connected Town strategy into a reality. I am delighted that, in Jackie, we have found exactly that person.”

Sadek has had a varied career in regeneration and public service including time at the London Docklands Development Corporation, Tesco, CBRE, Kent Thameside, Park Royal Partnership, BURA, and more. In 2015 she visited Ipswich as the government’s special advisor on urban regeneration within the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG). During the visit she declared the concept of the Ipswich Vision Board as “a great success”.

She commented: “Real change is best delivered to places via an entrepreneurial approach alongside collaborative ways of working. The Vision Board in Ipswich has led the way on this, and it now has a hugely ambitious programme to create the Connected Town Centre. My priority as Chair will be to publish a Delivery Plan early in the new year that will put into action the positive views received from businesses and residents. After that, we need to get on with delivering and we will be judged by outcomes.”

Alongside Ipswich Central, other members of the Vision Board are Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, New Anglia LEP, the University of Suffolk, All About Ipswich and Tom Hunt MP. It is rumoured that, under Sadek’s leadership, it will expand to represent other key aspects of the town centre community.

Tom Hunt said: “There is real determination amongst partners to deliver long-term improvement for the town centre. The government Town Deal money helps to kick-start revival, but we know that there is much more that we need to do beyond. I am really looking forward to working with Jackie and the other Vision members to bring forward those future priorities.”

Leader of Ipswich Borough Council, David Ellesmere, said: “I’m really pleased that we have managed to attract someone of Jackie’s stature to chair the Ipswich Vision. She brings real-world experience of delivering regeneration projects and the national connections that will be invaluable in producing the big improvements we want to see in our town.”

Catherine Johnson, Vice-President of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and Board Member of the Ipswich Vision and Ipswich Town Fund commented: "The appointment of Jackie Sadek, a true regeneration ‘heavy-hitter’, is a significant piece of good news for Ipswich Vision as it seeks to pull together all of the exciting initiatives likely to benefit the town over the next decade and more."

Paul Copsey, chair of Suffolk Chamber in Ipswich, added: “Suffolk Chamber in Ipswich believes firmly that cooperation and collaboration between partners is key to delivering our county town’s great potential. As the voice of business across the borough, we are very much looking forward to working with Jackie and everyone to do just that.”

Photo credit: Daniel Burman

Article by Suffolk Chamber