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Town-centre bosses delighted as Lord Stuart Rose praises £3.6m Cornhill new look

PUBLISHED: 11:05 22 December 2018 | UPDATED: 12:32 22 December 2018

Ipswich Cornhill redevelopment opened in November.

 Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Ipswich Cornhill redevelopment opened in November. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

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Ipswich town centre bosses have welcomed news that former Marks & Spencer chairman Lord Stuart Rose has reportedly praised the Cornhill's new look.

Lord Stuart  Rose at a Beacon Ipswich Conference in the Corn Exchange, Ipswich, in 2012. Picture: LUCY TAYLORLord Stuart Rose at a Beacon Ipswich Conference in the Corn Exchange, Ipswich, in 2012. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Lord Rose criticised the town square in strong terms back in 2012, saying: “It is the most depressing place I have ever seen. Standing in the town centre with the empty shops it is a barren wasteland.”

His words spurred on the regeneration of the area. A £3.6million redevelopment was completed last month, including new paving, fountains and an art installation. The work was paid for by a combination of public and private funding.

Lord Rose, who lives in Suffolk, has now reportedly praised the Cornhill’s new look.

In his first comment since the work was completed, according to a BBC report, he said: “I think it is a major improvement and hope it encourages the borough council to pursue further projects to bring life back to Ipswich town centre,”

Terry Hunt, chair of Ipswich Vision, said: “I’m delighted Lord Rose likes the new-look Cornhill. It was his justified criticism six years ago which made us determined to change things.

“We now have a main town square to be proud of: a place for entertainment, events, and for residents and visitors alike to spend time.

“In the New Year, Ipswich Vision will announce an exciting programme of events for the Cornhill, which we are confident will provide something for everyone. I look forward to the Cornhill being a lively focal point for Suffolk’s county town.”

Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central, said: “It’s good that Lord Rose has praised the Cornhill. He helped us start the process, we have done it, and we are pleased that he is pleased.”

The Cornhill redevelopment has proved controversial, but numbers of people visiting have risen significantly since refurbishment work finished in early November, according to new measuring devices in the town centre.

Special events held there so far have included the lights switch on, Ghost Caribou installations and the arrival of a festive craft market in a marquee, which is currently on the site.

On Saturday, January 5, a winter fest is planned with snowboarding, ski simulators, a rodeo reindeer, a blizzard cube, virtual reality snowball fights and an Alpine batak game.

The snow-themed day is the first of a series of events planned for coming months, with a Super Hero Quest taking place in February, an Ipswich Cook-off in March and an Easter fun day in April.

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