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Council calls in expert to look at Ipswich Cornhill after tragic accident

PUBLISHED: 15:58 24 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:33 24 January 2019

The investigation will look at all aspects of safety on the Cornhill. Picture: SUZANNE DAY

The investigation will look at all aspects of safety on the Cornhill. Picture: SUZANNE DAY

Archant

Ipswich council has commissioned an independent expert to join its investigation into safety on the rebuilt Cornhill following last week’s tragic accident outside the Town Hall.

John Stow died in hospital after a fall at the newly-revamped Ipswich Cornhill. Picture: COURTESY OF ANDREW PRYKEJohn Stow died in hospital after a fall at the newly-revamped Ipswich Cornhill. Picture: COURTESY OF ANDREW PRYKE

Last Saturday 83-year-old John Stow, from east Ipswich, fell down the new steps near the Town Hall and suffered serious injuries.

He died the next day at Ipswich Hospital. The coroner has been informed about the accident and is expected to decide whether to hold an inquest after seeing a copy of a post mortem examination.

Earlier this week the council said it was looking into the causes of seven accidents it had heard about on the Cornhill since the work to redesign the town square was completed in November.

Now chief executive Russell Williams has announced it has commissioned an independent expert to join the investigation to try to work out what might be dangerous there – and what could be done to make the new Cornhill safer.

He said: “It is important that this is investigated thoroughly and I have sought advice from an independent health and safety expert.”

Mr Williams also confirmed that the Health and Safety Executive had been informed about the circumstances surrounding the accident.

Mr Stow’s accident is believed to have been the third on the Cornhill last week. A woman fell on Tuesday and needed to sit down and catch her breath before carrying on shopping while someone was reported to have fallen and suffered minor injuries on the day before the tragedy.

Officials at the borough said they had been told of seven accidents on the Cornhill since the changes – and all would be considered during the safety review.

There has already been a temporary barrier installed on a single step which had led to some people tripping during the early days after the opening of the Cornhill – and attention is now expected to focus on the section where Mr Stow slipped and there are three steps.

Earlier this week, Mr Stow’s sister Viven Pryke paid tribute to her brother and said there should be an investigation.

She said: “We have been in touch with the borough council and we are glad they are investigating. What will come of it, I don’t know.

“Hopefully it can be sorted so it doesn’t happen again.”

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