Ipswich divided over what the Wetherspoon Golden Lion closure means for the Cornhill

The Golden Lion and Mannings in Ipswich

The Golden Lion and Mannings in Ipswich

The closure of the Golden Lion in Ipswich has left the town divided over what should fill its space, and cast fresh concerns over the Cornhill regeneration plans.

The closure sign at the Golden Lion

The closure sign at the Golden Lion - Credit: Archant

The iconic pub, which has been at the site for around 500 years, announced its closure on Sunday – less than two weeks after £3.3million plans to revamp the Cornhill were given the green light, in a bid to create an attractive centre point for the town centre including street cafes and a piazza-style space.But despite the pub’s closure and a turnover of pop-up style retailers in the former Grimwades store opposite Debenhams, Ipswich MP Ben Gummer does not believe it will threaten plans by the Ipswich Vision partnership to redesign the Cornhill.

“I don’t see this as a problem because there’s going to always be a want for more entertainment spaces around the Cornhill,” he said.

“What this does is provide another opportunity to bring high end retailers into the town.

“What we do need to happen is that we are getting the best possible tenant in the Golden Lion that’s going to help the town centre.”

But opinion over the future of the building already remains divided.

Ipswich Society chairman John Norman believes that the town has a need for a boutique hotel – with sites like the Golden Lion of White Horse prime examples of buildings developers would look to occupy.

Most Read

“We have got to balance the future use with protecting the key features of the historic pub,” he said.

“Changes can take place – particularly if it’s a new occupant that is going to manage it over the long term.”

Phil Hastie, pubs protection officer for Ipswich and East Suffolk CAMRA, added: “This is indeed an iconic building and one can only hope that, whatever the future holds, being a Grade II listed building, not too many changes occur.

“The Golden Lion (or the Vaults) is a loss to the people of Ipswich, as we set yet another family friendly venue close but lets see what the future holds and keep our fingers crossed.”