Poll: Former M&S chief exec Sir Stuart Rose invited to see Ipswich Market in action and rethink his views on the town
PUBLISHED: 08:40 30 January 2013 | UPDATED: 08:40 30 January 2013
WE need a successful market, not a piazza - says market leader.
That is the view of Ipswich Market supervisor Warren Niles today as he called on retail guru Sir Stuart Rose to rethink his views on the town centre.
Sir Stuart, former executive chairman of Marks and Spencer, caused controversy last year when he claimed the market should be moved to Lloyds Avenue and a piazza put in its place.
But Mr Niles, who has described the market as popular and thriving, has invited the businessman back to see it in action.
He said: “I speak from the heart and can honestly say that I feel the market is best situated on the Cornhill, whatever the opinions of others.
“As for Sir Stuart, he is entitled to his opinion, however misguided and ludicrous it may be, we need a successful market not a piazza.
“If Sir Stuart would feel the need to discuss this, I am sure I could find time in my busy schedule to educate him in the benefits of a successful market.
“I would even treat him to a coffee and a bacon roll should he accept my offer.”
Mr Niles believes about 80% of people who use the market are regular customers while a number of people in who shop in the town will occasionally pick up items from there.
And there are plans this year for a series of events which, it is hoped, will raise its profile and encourage more people to shop there.
Mr Niles said: “The loyal Ipswich public shop in large amounts on the Cornhill and, more to the point, return over and over again.”
“I must thank the shoppers who have been loyal to the market for many years, their loyalty speaks volumes and they deserve to be able to visit their market on the Cornhill for years to come.”
Borough council leader David Ellesmere added: “We are looking at what we can do to improve the Cornhill and we will be taking into account all the views that have been expressed about it.”
Sir Stuart’s message to business leaders during the conference was not all doom and gloom.
He praised the waterfront, declaring it a major asset, but insisted its development should not be at the expense of other parts of Ipswich.
“The Waterfront is fantastic but there is a problem with linking it to the town centre, you need to link up the different parts of the town,” he said.
An Ipswich Star poll in light of Sir Stuart’s comments revealed 444 people were in favour of changes being made to the Cornhill, while 232 people voted against the change.
The Ipswich Star last year launched the I Love Ipswich campaign to celebrate all that is good about the town.