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Petition launched over design of Cornhill revamp in Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 20:28 28 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:50 29 December 2017

Martin Webb has launched a petition against the proposed development of the Cornhill, and wants to see more consultation with the public over it. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Martin Webb has launched a petition against the proposed development of the Cornhill, and wants to see more consultation with the public over it. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A petition has been launched calling for the planned revamp of the Cornhill to be suspended until a higher profile consultation has been carried out with the public, amid concerns over the design’s popularity.

Architects' impression of the new look for Ipswich Cornhill. Architects' impression of the new look for Ipswich Cornhill.

Musician, business owner and Ipswich Community Radio presenter Martin Webb, known as Webby, launched the petition earlier this week over the £3.6million overhaul, raising concerns over a number of issues.

Mr Webb said that the principle of improving the centrepiece of the town was not a problem, but the feedback to the designs had been unpopular.

He said: “There are a few people saying it will be a good idea, but they don’t agree with everything, and there are people who want to see it revamped, but not like this.

“It’s all part of the heritage of the town, but four archways – what has that got to do with Ipswich and Suffolk’s county town?”

Bobby Robson and Ipswich Mayor holding the FA Cup outside the Town Hall in 1978 Bobby Robson and Ipswich Mayor holding the FA Cup outside the Town Hall in 1978

The 62-year-old questioned whether crowd moments such as the Ipswich Town FA Cup presentation from the Town Hall steps and Christmas lights switch-ons would also be able to happen.

The petition is due to be submitted to Ipswich Borough Council and MP Sandy Martin in the next few weeks.

Mr Webb added: “The consultation wasn’t on a Saturday, it wasn’t with the market stalls [when shoppers are around].

“When the bins change every house gets a flyer –but when there is something of this magnitude, over three million pounds, they haven’t put a leaflet through everyone’s doors.

Ipswich Christmas Lights Switch on from Cornhill Square.Picture:NIGE BROWN Ipswich Christmas Lights Switch on from Cornhill Square.Picture:NIGE BROWN

“I would like to see them go back to public, and actually go out into the street.”

The new-look Cornhill is set to feature a main plinth, four columns, ambient lighting, benches and trees.

A water feature has also been planned, although it is not yet clear if this will go ahead.

Terry Hunt, Ipswich Vision chairman, said: “The huge improvement to the Cornhill is a key part of the ongoing renaissance of Ipswich. It is supported by all the Ipswich Vision partners.

“It is essential that the Cornhill has a real ‘wow’ factor for residents, visitors and shoppers. It is the most important public square in the town centre.

“It is, of course, a big sum of money but we have to look at the bigger picture. Research tells us that if every visitor stayed for an hour longer then the town economy would be boosted by £26m a year. That’s a big prize.

“There has been a huge amount of consultation over the scheme, resulting in some significant changes from the original plans.

“Major public events will still be held on the new-look Cornhill. Indeed, it is vital that it is well used.

“Rest assured, if Ipswich Town win promotion to the Premier League, then the usual celebration would be held on the Cornhill – and I for one would definitely be there!”

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