Shoppers and traders have their first chance to judge Ipswich Cornhill
PUBLISHED: 15:58 07 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:49 13 November 2018
Weekend shoppers and Ipswich traders were keen to see the town's new Cornhill after it was finally reopened after nine months' work to redesign the heart of the town centre.
The barriers around the work came down on Friday afternoon – but it was on Saturday morning as the crowds moved in to do their weekend shopping that the Cornhill really came to life.
The water feature in the heart of the square was very popular with children – and many felt the whole area felt larger and brighter than it had before work started at the end of January.
The nine-month £3.6 million project to refurbish the Cornhill was delayed by two days because of problems with the balustrades.
Finishing off the refurbishment project will be the four stone Gateways, which will be installed later as the project team do not want to interrupt the festive lights switch-on.
Ipswich Vision Group chairman Terry Hunt said: “Suffolk’s county town now has a real ‘wow factor’ for shoppers, visitors and residents alike.
“The new Cornhill is something we can all be proud of and I am confident it will be a real boost to businesses.”
Providing a boost for businesses is a huge part of the project and Terry Baxter, chairman of Ipswich Central, added: “This vibrant heart of our retail quarter, together with an aspirational timetable of events, will help encourage new visitors to Ipswich and to ensure that those already here stay longer.
“The Cornhill improvements are part of a wider strategy that will help our town centre be the very best it can be and shows the strength of working together to achieve that aim.”
The Cornhill will be the focus once again for the big switch-on on November 22 and the council and its partners are planning a series of events to celebrate the new space, including a festive craft fair in December.
Ipswich will again have a Christmas tree, bigger and more brightly lit and decorated than last year. The tree has been bought by Ipswich businesses and arranged by Ipswich Central.
The festive countdown will be followed by a ceremony later in the month or in December, when the mayor will help children bury a time capsule under the Gateways.
The time capsule will contain a University of Suffolk prospectus, an Ipswich Town programme and a recording of the 1868 Ipswich New Town Hall Polka.