Cornhill work still on target as work starts to create new Pret cafe
PUBLISHED: 16:27 31 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:41 31 July 2018
Bosses at Ipswich Council insist that the reconstruction of the town's Cornhill will be completed by the end of October despite concerns that the work could be blown off schedule by changes to the paving.
And the area has received another boost with the start of work to convert most of the former Grimwades department store into a new Pret a Manger restaurant and take-away.
People using mobility scooters or with pushchairs for young children have complained that the new cobbles-style paving at the side of the Cornhill is difficult for them to travel over although the borough council has said this does comply with the original plans for the redevelopment.
Last month the borough said contractors Brooks and Wood would be allowed to work at weekends if they needed to ensure the work was completed by the October 31 deadline.
However so far it has not been necessary to work extra hours and a spokesman for the council said contractors were on target to complete the work on time.
They are now laying larger paving slabs on the main part of the Cornhill now the tank for the water feature has been fully installed.
A spokesman said: “Work is progressing well on the Cornhill and we are confident we will meet the planned completion date of 31st October.
“We are looking forward to having a town square we can be proud of and are pleased that work on the new Pret a Manger is now getting under way.”
Contractors have moved into the former Grimwades store and scaffolding has been going up inside and outside the building as work to prepare for its new life as a Pret outlet gets underway.
Officials from the council and Ipswich Central expect it to be ready to open at the same time as the Cornhill itself.
Ipswich Central chairman Terry Baxter said: “It’s good to see work starting on the former Grimwades store. It’s clear that they would want to complete it at the same time as the Cornhill, but it’s still good to actually see something happening there.”
He said the completion of the Cornhill, along with the opening of Pret, would provide the town centre with a welcome boost in the run-up to Christmas – especially as visitors would also be able to use the new Crown Car Park which finally opened its gates at the start of the week.