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Ipswich Cornhill to host a year of events - but will the work ever be finished?

PUBLISHED: 19:30 01 April 2019

Ipswich Central's Terry Baxter is looking forward to the events on the Cornhill. Picture; NICOLE DRURY/IBC

Ipswich Central's Terry Baxter is looking forward to the events on the Cornhill. Picture; NICOLE DRURY/IBC

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Ipswich's Cornhill is set to become home to a series of events over the next 12 months - providing a major grant to the town is agreed.

The concrete plinths are now stained by the metalic plaques. Picture: PAUL GEATERThe concrete plinths are now stained by the metalic plaques. Picture: PAUL GEATER

The programme will include music events, historic displays, and bringing a touch of the beach to the town centre during the summer holidays.

But as the plans to create a buzz about the Cornhill are published, the town’s civic society has pointed out that it still looks unfinished months after it reopened to the public.

Writing in the Ipswich Society newsletter, chairman John Norman said: “Four months on from the apparent completion, I remain disappointed, particularly with the monoliths.

“I was ridiculed for describing them as ‘posh concrete’ when they were first announced. I was wrong. They are not posh! If this public art had been delivered elsewhere it would have been rejected as sub-standard.”

The temporary barriers are still in place at the Cornhill in Ipswich. Picture: PAUL GEATERThe temporary barriers are still in place at the Cornhill in Ipswich. Picture: PAUL GEATER

He pointed out they were stained by rust from the plaques – and had none of the higher artwork promised in the artist’s GGI images.

A spokesman for the borough said there was still work to do at the Cornhill, but this had been delayed until after a safety audit of the area was completed following the tragic death of John Stow who died in hospital the day after falling down steps on the Cornhill in January.

But plans are going ahead for a programme of events at the Cornhill after the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership said it was expecting to grant £50,000 to match £25,000 from the borough and £25,000 from Ipswich Central to help pay for the programme.

They will start with a retro gaming event on Saturday featuring Sonic the Hedgehog and SuperMario before this is followed by the first Suffolk Farmers’ Market on the Cornhill on Sunday from 10am.

John Norman, Chairman of The Ipswich Society, expressed his concern about the John Norman, Chairman of The Ipswich Society, expressed his concern about the "unfinished" appearence of the Cornhill in the latest newsletter.

The fountains will be turned on for the summer on Monday, April 8.

Ipswich Central Chair, Terry Baxter said: “This aspirational timetable of events combines arts and entertainment, with community use and specialist markets to activate this new space in the centre of our town. We are looking forward to working with Ipswich Borough Council on delivery and are grateful to the New Anglia LEP for this opportunity.”

James Fairclough, Ipswich Council’s Head of Culture & Environment, said: “We are really pleased to get this generous support from the LEP which will help us make the Cornhill into a real ‘people space’ with lots of things to do and see.”

Ipswich Vision Chair Terry Hunt added: “We are really excited about the programme of events planned for our new-look Cornhill. The project has always been about much more than the building work – it is about transforming our most important public space into a place where residents and visitors spend time and enjoy themselves.

“This programme of events will help to achieve that. We are very grateful to the LEP, Ipswich Council and Ipswich Central for their important financial contributions.”

The LEP funding has still to be formally agreed with the borough and Ipswich Central, but it is hoped this will be confirmed very soon allowing the full 12-month programme to go ahead.

What is planned for Ipswich Cornhill over the next 12 months?

The programme of events will start this weekend with the retro gaming fair on Saturday and the first of what should be a regular Suffolk Farmers’ Market on Sunday.

The farmers’ markets are due to become a regular feature of the Cornhill – taking over the heart of the town from 10am to 2pm on the first Sunday of every month.

Over the next few months there will be a display of historic vehicles from the Ipswich Transport Museum.

Music will take over the town centre to mark the start of the Ipswich Jazz Festival and there will be more music – together with food stalls – to celebrate National Windrush Day.

Over the weekend of the Ed Sheeran concerts there will be an opportunity for up-and-coming musicians to play on the Cornhill to crowds heading out later to Chantry Park.

On other days during the summer there will be deckchairs and a beach atmosphere for people to enjoy an alfresco lunch on the Cornhill.

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