Gallery/video: New look for Cornhill in the heart of Ipswich unveiled

An architects impression of the proposed new look for Ipswich Cornhill

An architects impression of the proposed new look for Ipswich Cornhill - Credit: Archant

This is the proposed new look for Ipswich Cornhill’s, we can reveal today.

It is one of five bids which went out to public consultation last September and at its heart is a proposal to level the Cornhill, giving a flat area from the front of Debenhams to the entrance to the Town Hall.

There would be a strip of unlevelled ground along the front of the former Grimwades’ Store going down past Mannings and the Golden Lion wide enough to allow tables to be set up on the street.

The transformation of the Cornhill is expected to cost about £3.5 million, and the borough council, county council, and businesses will be asked to help fund the work. The borough has already committed £800,000 to the project.

The final look will differ considerably from the design submitted in the summer – the centrepiece tower has been remodelled, and there are likely to be changes to the look of the main paved area.

One major change would be that the section between the top of Princes Street and Lloyds Avenue arch remains a highway and is technically open to emergency vehicles.

Building a flat area extending from the front of the Town Hall to the front of the former post office building would mean this highway would have to be formally closed.

That would require changes to the official map of the town centre – and people would have to be given the opportunity to formally object before any change could be allowed.

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The design was chosen by a committee made up of representatives of the borough and county councils, Ipswich Central, UCS and Ipswich MP Ben Gummer.

It is understood they went for this design because it was considered more flexible than the others.

There could be space on the flattened Cornhill for the market – and there would also be room for other events.

A flat space would lend itself to far more uses than are currently available.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said he could not comment on the winning bid at this stage, but it had been good that organisations had been able to come together and reach such a positive outcome.

He said: “The fact that we were able to reach a unanimous decision and there is an enthusiasm to redevelop the Cornhill is a good sign for the future of the town.”

Once the scheme is formally announced there will need to be a major fund-raising effort before any work to prepare the way for the project can start.