December 6 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Ambitious proposals to transform the Cornhill at the heart of Ipswich town centre have received a lukewarm welcome from shoppers and market stall holders.
Five potential schemes aimed at producing a £3million transformation of the Cornhill went on display at the Town Hall yesterday.
However none attracted unqualified welcome among visitors to the exhibition or among those working or shopping at the town’s market which currently uses the Cornhill four days a week.
None of the five designs shows the market in its current location on the Cornhill – some suggest moving it to Giles Circus and Queen Street a short distance away.
However some make no reference to the current market – raising a major doubt about what should happen to it in any revamp.
Steve Shapland used our Facebook page to say: “Make the market the centre point and help to improve its image. It’s an attraction, people will spend money there, I would much rather have a market than a big concrete open space.”
Tim Leggett also used Facebook to say: “Ipswich is a great town and these schemes will ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater.’ It is what is in the retail units and decent parking at a sensible price that will bring people in.”
Visitors to the exhibition were not overly impressed by the designs – feeling that more should be done to encourage the market which brings people to the town centre four days a week.
Traders themselves are concerned about the proposals – although some feel if they are allowed to operate along the main shopping street in the town centre that may be an acceptable compromise.
And there is scepticism about the ability of the partners to raise the £3 million needed for the transformation – the borough and county councils are expecting to be asked to contribute 25% each (£750,000).
But the remainder of the funding would have to come from central government sources (the New Anglia LEP or lottery funding) and contributions from the private sector.
A decision on which scheme should be the basis for the redevelopment of the Cornhill is due to be taken by the partners behind the proposal: the borough and county councils, Ipswich Central, UCS, and Ipswich MP Ben Gummer with former head of Marks and Spencer Sir Stuart Rose as its key advisor, later this month – but redevelopment work could still be some way off.