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New planters on Ipswich Cornhill in a bid to ease concerns about safety

PUBLISHED: 16:28 14 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:28 14 February 2019

Ipswich Council is installing new planters at the top of the steps on the Cornhill. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Ipswich Council is installing new planters at the top of the steps on the Cornhill. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Archant

Ipswich council is installing new planters at the top of the steps on the town's Cornhill in response to safety fears which were heightened after the death of John Stow last month.

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

The borough brought in an independent safety expert to give advice on the Cornhill after the death of Mr Stow 24 hours after he fell down in front of the Town Hall.

It promised that any safety recommendations would be introduced immediately – and now the planters have been installed.

They should guide pedestrians to the side of the steps, allowing them to hold the handrails if necessary, and put an obstacle in the path to ensure they have to look where they are going.

A council spokesman said: “As a precautionary measure, pending the outcome of the independent review, we have decided to add some floral planters, which we hope will help everyone to better use the Cornhill.”

They are expected to be filled with flowers and shrubs – and council officials do not expect them to cause any major problems for any of the events that are expected to take place on the Cornhill during the year.

Mr Stow, 83, fell down the steps at the Cornhill on January 19 and died the following day in Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

Speaking a council meeting 10 days later, borough leader David Ellesmere extended his sympathies to his family, but said he could not say anything further until all the details had been heard at the inquest.

An inquest into Mr Stow’s death opened last week – but was adjourned before any details of the cause of death were given. The full inquest is expected to be held later in the year.

Meanwhile the borough is due to start preparatory work to finish the Four Gateways art installation next week.

They are due to be cleaned ready for a specialist polishing machine to be brought in later to expose a glossy surface which the council hopes with transform their appearance.

There was widespread criticism of the Gateways when they were moved into position before Christmas – but the borough says they should be completely transformed once they are polished and the Cornhill should be complete once the water feature is turned on again at the start of the spring.

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