Cornhill improvements get a warm welcome

Ipswich Cornhill.

Ipswich Cornhill. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

The Cornhill has been the centre of Ipswich civic life for centuries – but it has undergone frequent changes.

In the 1930s there was a car park in front of the Town Hall, and from the 1950s to the 1970s the area was the main interchange for the town’s Corporation buses.

The Cornhill was paved in the 1980s, and in 2002 it became home to the Ipswich market.

Now it is to be revamped again in a move that was championed by Ipswich Central in the wake of Lord Rose’s comments to the Beacon conference in 2012.

Terry Baxter, Chair of Ipswich Central, said: “Today’s decision reinforces the value of all seven ‘Vision’ partners working together with a common goal.

“The Cornhill regeneration project further illustrates our commitment to Ipswich and its future prosperity.

“From the very start, I am proud that Ipswich Central has played a key role in pushing the process forward, from joint funding the competition to find the best design team, to hosting a major conference when Lord Rose set Suffolk’s county town the challenge to change for the better.

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“Today I believe that we have taken another step towards that goal.”

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said: “This is exceptionally good news and means that we can now begin in earnest on revitalising our town centre.

“One of the promises that I have made to the people of Ipswich is to see our town centre renovated and the quality of shops improved.

“It is clear that retailers and the public want to see that renovation begin and that is why I’m delighted that we can now move ahead with regeneration of the Cornhill which should be one of the most beautiful spaces in our town.”

Ipswich council was the first body to put up funding for the scheme when it pledged £800,000 for the project.

Leader David Ellesmere said: “We have taken a long time to get here, but I am sure it will be a great improvement for the town centre and will encourage more investment.”

County council leader Colin Noble added: “It is good to see things moving in the right direction as all members of the Ipswich Vision Board agree that breathing life back into the Cornhill area of the town is a key priority in Ipswich’s continued renaissance.”