Corn Exchange to be sold off
IPSWICH'S Corn Exchange is to be sold off by the borough council, the Star can reveal today.The town centre entertainment complex is set to close later this year – possibly as early as the summer.
IPSWICH'S Corn Exchange is to be sold off by the borough council, the Star can reveal today.
The town centre entertainment complex is set to close later this year - possibly as early as the summer.
Meanwhile the borough is hoping to spend £19 million turning the Regent theatre into a "flexible touring venue" able to attract musicals and the most popular rock and pop acts.
However the theatre would be closed for up to two years while building work was undertaken - leaving Ipswich without a large indoor venue for live entertainment.
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Officials at the borough have been discreetly looking at the possibility of selling the Corn Exchange for some time.
They are today confident that a new occupier will soon be found - possibly a major retailer who would be able to make use of the Grand Hall.
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The Corn Exchange is a listed building and as such could not be demolished or have major alterations.
"Basically the Grand Hall would have to be left intact," a council source told the Star today.
"The rooms on the ground floor and below could be altered - but the look of the Corn Exchange could not be changed significantly."
Ipswich Film Theatre, currently housed in the Corn Exchange, is due to move to new premises in Cranfields Mill on the Waterfront as part of its redevelopment.
Consultants estimate that about 40 percent of the events currently held at the Corn Exchange could be transferred to a refurbished Regent Theatre.
However other events would have to find alternative homes.
Andrew Cann, son of former MP and council leader Jamie Cann who worked to save the Regent, was outraged to hear about the proposals.
"The kind of events you get at the Corn Exchange are different to those that come to the Regent," he said.
"And there are many events that you get at the Corn Exchange that can't transfer then. Last week my wife and I went to a charity ball at the Grand Hall, tickets were £60 each.
"If that had been in a commercial venue, they would have been £100 each - and it's not easy to justify spending £200 for the two of us on a night out.
"Charities will suffer. It would be like Ipswich losing its 'village hall'."