Ipswich council will immediately carry out any Cornhill safety work recommended by expert after death of John Stow

Flowers mark where the accident happened on the Cornhill. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Flowers mark where the accident happened on the Cornhill. Picture: PAUL GEATER - Credit: PAUL GEATER

Immediate action will be taken to make any safety changes recommended after an independent expert’s inspection of the Cornhill in Ipswich following the death of an 83-year-old man.

John Stow, 83, from east Ipswich, died in hospital on January 20 – the day after he suffered an “horrific” fall on the Cornhill.

David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, was asked about the authority’s response to the accident at Wednesday night’s full meeting of the council.

He extended the council’s sympathies to the relatives of Mr Stow – but said he could not comment on what had happened because that was still being investigated.

He said: “That is in the hands of the coroner – and at this stage the cause of death is not known.”

In response to a question by Labour councillor John Cook Mr Ellesmere said the council had been advised there was no need to take any immediate action to change the Cornhill before the independent expert had looked at the new paving.

Opposition Conservative leader Ian Fisher asked about the appointment of the independent expert, and said: “Can the leader confirm that the council will conform to any recommendations made and that any remedial work that may be needed will be carried out immediately?”

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Mr Ellesmere confirmed that would happen – but repeated that he had been told there was nothing that should have been done immediately.

Mr Fisher responded that the borough should have called in an independent expert after the issue was raised at a council meeting in November after reports of more minor accidents immediately after the Cornhill reopened following its £3.6m refurbishment.

Mr Ellesmere responded: “We do not know the circumstances leading up to the accident and we have been advised that no new measures need to be introduced before the expert’s report is completed.”

The council has said it had been informed of seven incidents of people falling on the Cornhill before Mr Stow’s accident, although none of the previous incidents had been so serious.

Market traders said Mr Stow’s fall was the third that week – after people had stumbled on the Tuesday and Friday before the weekend tragedy which has prompted the new look at Cornhill safety.