Video/gallery: Thousands descend on town centre as the Christmas lights are switched on...now thoughts are turning to trade

Crowds of people gathered for festivities and entertainment in the Cornhill for the Ipswich Christm

Crowds of people gathered for festivities and entertainment in the Cornhill for the Ipswich Christmas lights switch on. - Credit: Archant

Thousands of people celebrated the start of the festive shopping season in Ipswich on Sunday night, as the town’s Christmas lights were switched on during an event at the Cornhill.

Crowds of people gathered for festivities and entertainment in the Cornhill for the Ipswich Christm

Crowds of people gathered for festivities and entertainment in the Cornhill for the Ipswich Christmas lights switch on. - Credit: Archant

Retailers were already reporting significant takings ahead of the big show, which included a performance from music duo De’Vide and the appearance of pantomime characters.

Crowds of people gathered for festivities and entertainment in the Cornhill for the Ipswich Christm

Crowds of people gathered for festivities and entertainment in the Cornhill for the Ipswich Christmas lights switch on. - Credit: Archant

A dash of fake snow also added to the carnival atmosphere as the sparkling artificial Christmas tree and decorations across the town were lit up, but now thoughts will be turning to the busy trading period ahead.

Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central, said: “By the look of it, it was incredibly successful.

“There was an enormous crowd, the people had smiles on their faces and they enjoyed the show.


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“I think the tree looks stunning and I have spoken to a number of retailers who have said this was a much more significant switch on for them than last year, so it looks like businesses in the town centre have benefitted from it.”

To help make the next month of trade even more successful for the town’s traders, a series of initiatives have been put in place to entice shoppers.

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The Quids-in parking scheme, where parking costs £1 in borough car parks after 3pm, free park-and-ride services for late-night shopping Thursdays from 3pm is expected to draw in boost footfall in the town centre.

Meanwhile, work on the Tower Ramparts bus station has been completed and contractors working on the Travel Ipswich project have met the deadline to make sure the town centre is clear of roadworks for Christmas.

A new Morrisons store is also due to open this morning in St Matthew’s Street which will increase competition among food shops in the area. Mr Clement added: “Ipswich is truly open for business this year and it is looking good, absolutely.”

While the shopping season got underway yesterday in spectacular style, there were some people already buying their Christmas gifts at a market in St Peter’s Street.

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