Market's future set to be discussed

THE first steps could soon be taken in a bid to expand Ipswich market and secure its long term future.The executive committee of Ipswich Borough Council will meet next week to consider the future of the craft and general provisions market in the town centre.

THE first steps could soon be taken in a bid to expand Ipswich market and secure its long term future.

The executive committee of Ipswich Borough Council will meet next week to consider the future of the craft and general provisions market in the town centre. Councillors will be asked to consider four options for the market.

The four options are to leave the market at its current size -19 stalls - and keep its current location on the Town Hall Forecourt.

To move it to another site - not favoured by traders - which a report before councillors says could only be the Civic Centre car park. To look at the issues arising from its occupying the main public space in the town centre or to expand it into surrounding streets.


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The executive committee is being recommended to go for expansion following advice from market consultants, Michael Felton Associates, to make a viable market attractive to an experienced market operator would need more than 40 stalls.

However, while the council has a right under a royal charter granted in 1518 to grant licences to hold markets on council or privately-owned land, to expand onto highways would need a private act of parliament, at an estimated cost of £60,000.

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The bill for this proposal has to be presented on November 27 this year after a full public consultation including a questionnaire in borough council publication Ipswich Angle. If there are no difficulties Royal Assent could be obtained in July 2004.

Expansion into the streets around the Cornhill could affect the town's main taxi rank in Lloyds Avenue, as well as streets on the other side of the town hall, like Princes Street.

Peter Gardiner, chairman of the executive committee, said: "The proposal is not to go the whole way into Lloyds Avenue at this stage but to get the road designated.

"The taxi drivers' turning circle would remain and it's not intended at this stage to think beyond that.

"The reason is you really only get one good shot at it [an act of parliament] because of the cost so you go for the biggest area you might want.

"But immediately it's not considered to be viable to go into the whole of Lloyds Avenue and it's not sensible in the short term to think about going onto Princes Street at Giles Corner."

He said the town centre partnership would consider the needs of businesses around the town centre including the taxi drivers' before any decision to expand was taken.

Eric Pearl, secretary of the Ipswich Taxi Drivers' Association, which represents the Lloyds Avenue hackney cab drivers, said: "We will be looking carefully at the amount of road that would be taken up by a market. We would be concerned if too much was taken up. It could be a bit dangerous because of the turning circle."

Michael Young, chairman of the Ipswich Market Traders' Co-operative, declined to comment on the proposals.

The executive committee are due to meet on Tuesday, June 3.

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