Video/Gallery: Widespread welcome for Cornhill plans – but cool reception from Ipswich Society

An architects impression of the proposed new look for Ipswich Cornhill An architects impression of the proposed new look for Ipswich Cornhill

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
5:08 PM

The new look for Ipswich Cornhill has been official unveiled with major changes from the original design outlined last year.

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The winning design – by the Belfast architects’ practice Hall McKnight – was shown off yesterday.

Now all that is needed is £3.5 million to bring the vision to reality by the end of 2016!

The scheme would level a platform across the Cornhill linking the front of the Town Hall with the front of the old Post Office building – now Lloyds Bank.

The flat area would be flexible, with the opportunity for it to have a number of different uses – including market stalls.

A key feature of the design is a tower of light near the front of the Debenhams store.

Extending the new platform across the front of both the Town Hall and the old Post Office will need the formal closure of the top of Princes Street – Suffolk County Council is backing the scheme and is expected to bring forward the road closure orders in the near future.

The design was chosen unanimously by a panel drawn up from the borough and county councils, UCS, Ipswich Central, and MP Ben Gummer. They were advised by former Marks and Spencer boss Sir Stuart Rose who led calls for an improvement to the Cornhill at the Beacon Town conference in September 2012.

Borough council leader David Ellesmere said his authority had put aside a quarter of the cost of the work – about £800,000, and would be looking for contributions from the county council, government bodies, and the private sector through Ipswich Central.

He said: “There is some work to do there but there is a widespread acceptance that this scheme will improve the town centre and I hope we shall be able to raise the money within the next 18 months to two years.”

The work would probably take six months to complete – meaning the earliest the new Cornhill could be completed would be late 2016.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said: “In a sense the difficult part, raising the money, is still to come – but the fact that we were able to agree unanimously shows there is widespread support for this project to go ahead.”

He was “75% confident” that the money would be found: “In less than four years there has been £150 million invested in Ipswich. I would hope this would not be too difficult – it is vital to transform the town centre.”

The county council is still considering whether to put any money into the scheme – a statement pointed out that it is currently managing the £21 million Travel Ipswich project, even though only £2.5 million of that came from county funds, the bulk of it came from the Department for Transport.

While there was a widespread welcome at the official launch, one leading organisation in the town remains unconvinced by the plans.

John Norman, chairman of the Ipswich Society, said his members had strong views on the future of the Cornhill.

He said: “Personally I don’t have a problem with these plans. But we asked our members what they thought and the general feeling is that it would be a total waste of money.

“They feel that while the Cornhill might be looking a little tired after it was rebuilt in 1986, there are other areas of the town centre that could benefit much more from £3.5 million that this.”

He said the Society’s members felt the money would be better spent improving the Waterfront, improving the area around St Margaret’s Plain or sorting out the disused former Odeon cinema.

34 comments

  • disabled access?????? or will they have to go the long way round? I agree with Gez and I E complete joke!!! should never have got past 1st phaze just shows how the people involved have no planning or idea about how scr**ed there gonna be when faced with a disability discrimination claim bearing in mind they will have a blank canvas to work with....... for-shame

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    watching it go down the pan

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • OK Evening star now let the people of Ipswich have their say ,,, lets have POLL on this in tomorrow's paper

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    MIGUEL100

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • "Widespread welcome"?!? Where do you get this rubbish from Paul Geater? 99% of comments on your own website have been very negative about the whole project.

    Report this comment

    RC

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • A crazy amount of money to spend on one small part of the town when some streets just around the corner are an absolute mess and feel like a no go area at night. I'm all for investment, and Ipswich definately needs it, but there needs to be a sense of priorities which seems to be lacking here.

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    Suffolk Boy

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • The Cornhill is pretty nice as it is. Perhaps some nice paving and a fountain. It's that ugly market that spoils it.

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    m01

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • Whoever designed this obviously had no thought for disabled people in particular, wheelchair users. Steps in the Cornhill would mean that if I came up the side of the town hall wanting to turn left towards St Matthews I would have to go via the Natwest to get onto the main stretch which by the look of it will be full of tables and chairs if the architect gets their way. Not to mention the fact that it will cause even more congestion especially during weekends and Christmas periods. Heres hoping they can't raise the money!

    Report this comment

    Gez

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • By whome exactly?

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    Neil (Suffolk)

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • First priority I would have thought would be rebuilding Crown Street multistory car park - its constantly at ~96% capacity.

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    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • what do the people of Ipswich really want? im sure this is not the answer

    Report this comment

    Da Monk

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • What worries me is the lack of provision for our market.. Norwich has been quoted as having a far superior square which if you had noticed has a huge market. Spend the money as you like but leave our market alone

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    Rex Ide

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • This would all be very nice if Ipswich Borough Council had surplus money but i very much doubt if they do. What they need to do is leave the gilded cage they work in and actually walk around the town, only then will they realise that the money could be spent wisely on a hundred different problems around the town. A few examples are, potholes in most of the roads, derelict buildings on the waterfront and the one way system, Upper Orwell Street needs improving it looks run down to name a few. If they carried out a bit of research ie looking on trip adviser etc they would see that people are being drawn to Ipswich because of the Waterfront so improve that and this will bring in enough revenue to improve the town in the future. Simples

    Report this comment

    royg

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • How can it have widespread welcome when most of us don't have a clue what's intended? It just looks like a big area of decking to me.

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    Tamara Knight

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • If I remember correctly Sir Stuart Rose said he could rejuvenate the Cornhill for well under a million pounds; yet the people of Ipswich are presented with a project estimated to cost £3.5 million. The Cornhill is fine unless the market is there. Work with the market traders to find a suitable site and if money is to be spent, spend it on improving other parts of the town centre so people will want to visit the town.

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    BigGeoff

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • whats the point of spending all that money on doing up the cornhill only to put the tatty market stalls back on there.not to mention the piles of rubbish the market traders leave behind after they have packed up.

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    bob

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • Where can I get a job spending other peoples money willy nilly?

    Report this comment

    Erm, Why?

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • Let's help the people of Ipswich by improving the Cornhill. Let's take 3.5m of their cash spend it on a big stage and some steps. While we are at it we are at it lets reduce access to emergency vehicles, let's also spend some on an out of town architects, and prob foreign builders too. Then in a few years when we see the folly of our decision we will return it to its original condition, on more of their money.

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    Lee Davies

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • Not sure this use of taxpayers money in this way is necessary, would like to know who welcomes the designs and idea, because I don't know anyone in favour!

    Report this comment

    Footyfan

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • What a completely bonkers idea, do IBC really think that this sort of nonsense will draw people into town - what is needed is a few quality shops not a large deck!

    Report this comment

    mobyjones

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • What a completely bonkers idea, do IBC really think that this sort of nonsense will draw people into town - what is needed is a few quality shops not a large deck!

    Report this comment

    mobyjones

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • There was me thinking I'd found an article not mentioning the waterfront until I came to the last sentence. As part of Travel Ipswich why not put traffic lights up to control the pedestrians.

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    oldwhinger

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • What is costing £3.5m, its £700k of work, probably a further £500k of labour as no one gets out of bed for nothing these days, and the rest of the £2.3m? Pure profit for the architect? I AM DISGUSTED BY THE LACK OF CONSIDERATION OF DISABLED USERS - HOW IT EVER GOT SHORTLISTED IS A COMPLETE UTTER SHAMBLES. For £3.5m I could make Ipswich a serious destination to come to. I would not make a penny. I would be happy to do it for free just so the place is less of a dump. It would involve more than the central square. Of great irony, I do not recall these photos when I voted. Was one with towers, and one had steps... none had decking as far as I remember. And the shelters? Would have been better in the bus station. lol - talking of bus station why not tarmac the whole thing with a few benches so people can sit down and watch people fall over and break their necks...? Thats how little thought either councils give us.

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Not sure this use of taxpayers money in this way is necessary, would like to know who welcomes the designs and idea, because I don't know anyone in favour!

    Report this comment

    Footyfan

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • Money would be better off spent on Broomhill pool.

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    Sarky Sage

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • Money would be better off spent on Broomhill pool.

    Report this comment

    Sarky Sage

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • Something has to be done to replace the tatty market place currently in place at the Cornhill. Ipswich TC needs to become more upmarket if it tries to compete with the out of town shopping. I'm also not sure the design is going to last long term. The concept of putting the wooden raised area may look good initially but when its wet or frosty, it is a very dangerous surface. After time algae will form, again making it very slippery. Other designs in the past that included wooden slats have had correctly work to apply non-slip surfaces to the wooden slats.

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    Barrie Smith

    Wednesday, January 22, 2014

  • Why the U Turn by the council? The whole idea of the Cornhill project was for an improved public space with intention of dining tables and chairs.... NOT with a market in the middle! Who is going to sit outside Mannings with hundreds of people pushing past looking at the market, hearing some nutter shouting "ladies get your cherries" over and over again ...

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    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • The widespread welcome is clearly not a feature of the comments on this website. Personally I have no opinion on whether its good or bad, I just want the rest of the broken town centre fixed first. When that's done the Council can play with the Cornhill.

    Report this comment

    mmm

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • What a completely bonkers idea, do IBC really think that this sort of nonsense will draw people into town - what is needed is a few quality shops not a large deck!

    Report this comment

    mobyjones

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • I like the design although the cost is rather high I think. Like the idea of market stalls as long as they are more upmarket than some of the existing stalls which are dirtysmelly, like the fruitvegfish stalls, ban those. Lets improve the market, I avoid it because of the stalls and some of the people that shop there.

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    David Feaveryear

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • The market is neither dirty or smelly , its a market for for us to buy FRESH fruit and veg. not some terrible stuff that's sat on supermarket shelves for a week. Its the ONLY place in Ipswich where Fresh fish can be found. How about consulting the market traders and their customers before this nonsense is pushed through.

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    Rex Ide

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • £150m invested in Ipswich in 4 years... apart from the university, waterfront, ipswich central projects (funded by business levy) and travel ipswich joke... where has the money been invested? its the same old. nothings changed. Of course the tory **** is included waitrosejohn lewis, futura park, and the rail chord. They are either investing on the boundary (not the town centre where needed) or are a project not for our direct benefit.

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • What a completely bonkers idea, do IBC really think that this sort of nonsense will draw people into town - what is needed is a few quality shops not a large deck!

    Report this comment

    mobyjones

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • The widespread welcome is clearly not a feature of the comments on this website. Personally I have no opinion on whether its good or bad, I just want the rest of the broken town centre fixed first. When that's done the Council can play with the Cornhill.

    Report this comment

    mmm

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • Why not use the money towards lowering the rents for shops to encourage different shops to our town.

    Report this comment

    marlyn

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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