Cornhill’s opening put back a day – but barriers down by the weekend

The barriers on the Cornhill should soon come down. Picture: ARCHANT

The barriers on the Cornhill should soon come down. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: ARCHANT

The new multi-million pound Ipswich Cornhill is not expected to be unveiled until the weekend – after there was a delay in final street furniture reaching the town.

Paving work has been completed, the seats and the new trees have been installed – but there was a problem with the new balustrades when they were delivered earlier this week.

This has meant they are not able to be installed on the Cornhill until Thursday. They will then need to be fixed in place and the silicon material holding them in place needs to be left overnight to set.

Therefore, a safety audit by officers from Suffolk County Council’s highways department cannot take place until Friday morning at the earliest – allowing the multi-million pound project to be unveiled by lunchtime.

Contractors will be on hand to carry on working there if there are any further delays, but officials are hoping the Cornhill will be open for business over the weekend.

Meanwhile, there has been further testing of the water feature and this is expected to be turned on over the weekend to show off the new square.

The only element not expected to be fully operational is the ‘four gateways’ art installation opposite Debenhams and the new Pret a Manger is being created in the former Grimwades store.

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That is expected to be installed later in November, although it is not clear yet whether it will be in place by the time the town’s Christmas lights are lit on November 22.

An Ipswich Borough Council spokesman said: “We are so very nearly there and our local contractors are working flat out to get the Cornhill open during the weekend.

“We hope people will enjoy having their town square back and see what an exciting place it now is.”

The work at the Cornhill has taken nine months and has cost £3.6m.

It is six years since the idea of revitalising the town centre emerged from a speech by Suffolk-based retail giant Sir Stuart Rose in Ipswich.

He described the Cornhill area as “the most depressing place I have ever seen”.

The new Cornhill may be 48 hours late opening, but the council is confident “depressing” won’t be the word used to describe it in future.