Pop-up department store and light show set to tempt people back into town

Ipswich Borough Council bosses have planned a series of events to tempt shoppers back into the town centre.

Ipswich Borough Council bosses have planned a series of events to tempt shoppers back into the town centre. - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

A pop-up department store and a week-long light show installation are among plans to encourage visitors to Ipswich town centre in a fortnight.

Ipswich town centre will host a ‘Welcome Back Weekend’ of events and attractions from March 11-13 to increase footfall and dwell time in the town centre, in a bid to help businesses bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Among being measures laid on are a “light spectacular on the Cornhill” which will mark the efforts of key workers during the last two years.

Bosses at Ipswich Borough Council, which is organising the events, said: “A built platform will be installed on the Cornhill, the platform has a dazzling array of light columns, each column is capable of displaying millions of colours and spectacular sequences, whilst visitors can walk through them.”

The lights will be illuminated from 6.30pm-9pm every night from March 11-20, with the installation set to begin being erected from Wednesday this week.

Elsewhere, the empty Ancient House will host a marketplace of pop-up stalls from sole traders and craftspeople, which council bosses said would be a “temporary mini department store for the weekend”.

Ancient House, formerly home to Lakeland, will host a pop-up department store 

Ancient House, formerly home to Lakeland, will host a pop-up department store - Credit: JASON NOBLE LDRS

In addition, Kinetic Science Adventure CIC is taking a lease on two rooms at the Town Hall to host interactive public science displays – as well as future events such as seminars and school sessions – while 47 St Nicholas Street will hold an open mic night of poetry, comedy and music.

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The live music continues with a gig at St Stephen’s Church, which has recently been confirmed to become a new venue for the town following a successful weekend hosting bands at Sound City Ipswich last autumn.

Sarah Barber, Labour councillor and portfolio holder for the town centre, said: “It’s really good to feel the town centre is opening up again a bit more, and hopefully it will work out well for retail with things across the whole town, and to draw people back.

Councillor Sarah Barber. Picture:

Councillor Sarah Barber. - Credit: GREGG BROWN

“I think it’s a bit more inclusive than Eat Out To Help Out, and it focuses on the town centre.

“It also gives artists a bit of a boost because some will have really struggled over the past two years.”

Cash to host the weekend comes from the European Regional Development Fund’s Welcome Back Fund scheme – a £56m pot for councils in England to support the return of safe high streets and post-Covid recovery.