Returning shoppers find Ipswich Cornhill won’t be finished until August
PUBLISHED: 16:02 10 June 2020
With Ipswich town centre preparing to welcome back shoppers on Monday, there is a warning that work on the Cornhill is likely to continue for another two months – rebuilding work will not be finished until Mid-August.
That means self-distancing shoppers who are expected to return to the town when non-essential shops reopen will have to dodge around the Cornhill – and even if the weather is fine it will not be possible to spend time there.
Contractors are installing safety barriers that the borough council ordered after a safety audit that followed a series of accidents early last year after the £3.6m redevelopment of the Cornhill was “completed” at the end of 2018.
The report was commissioned after Ipswich pensioner John Stow died in hospital the day after falling over on a step in the town centre. The new work is costing an additional £373,000.
By the time the final work is completed it will be nearly two years after the official completion of the Cornhill at the end of October 2018.
Terry Hunt, the chair of the Ipswich Vision Partnership which represents the groups that funded the redevelopment of the Cornhill, admitted that the delay to the work had been “frustrating.”
He said: “The work has been delayed because of the lockdown, the difficulty in getting the materials that are needed and it is taking longer because of the social distancing rules but it is very frustrating that it isn’t going to be finished for another two months.”
The work started before Christmas and was suspended over the festive shopping period. It then restarted in January and the paving work was then completed just before the lockdown started. The new railings were due to be installed over Easter – but that work was delayed because of lockdown and was only able to restart in the middle of May.
Mr Hunt said: “When it is completed there will be new railings – and extra new railings on the Town Hall steps to make them safer as well.
“Hopefully when it is all completed the situation with the pandemic and with the weather will allow lots of people to get out on to the Cornhill and enjoy what should be a real focal point for the town centre during the height of the summer.”
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