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Ipswich Cornhill revamp gets go-ahead – work set to start early next year

PUBLISHED: 13:44 31 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:07 31 May 2017

Architects' impression of the new look for Ipswich Cornhill. Picture: IBC

Architects' impression of the new look for Ipswich Cornhill. Picture: IBC

Archant

Work to transform Ipswich Cornhill into a new centrepiece for the town with a water feature and new sculpture could start in the new year after it was finally granted planning permission.

Architects' impression of the new look for Ipswich Cornhill - the controversial four arches sculpture. PictureL IBCArchitects' impression of the new look for Ipswich Cornhill - the controversial four arches sculpture. PictureL IBC

Members of Ipswich Borough Council’s planning and development committee overwhelmingly backed the proposal to redevelop the area – despite an objection from Ipswich Society chairman John Norman.

The £3.2million redevelopment will see an area of the Cornhill in front of the Town Hall levelled with a water feature and a sculpture of four arches representing the four statues on both the old Post Office and Town Hall.

Ipswich Borough Council portfolio holder for planning, Carole Jones, said the proposal would bound to attract different views because design was subjective.

She was personally unsure about the sculpture, but said overall the scheme would be a great improvement to the town and should help with its regeneration.

Architects' impression of the new look for Ipswich Cornhill. The view from the Post Office showing the water feature.Architects' impression of the new look for Ipswich Cornhill. The view from the Post Office showing the water feature.

However Mr Norman warned there would be major problems. He said the fact that the county council had refused to maintain the road areas of the Cornhill meant any work could be left looking untidy.

“The sculpture is just made out of posh concrete – and the one thing you can be sure about a water feature is that it will break down. It’s happened all over the place, in Clacton, in Southend and in Peterborough...the only place where they’re still working is in Lowestoft,” he said.

Conservative councillor John Carnall described the proposed arches as “ghastly” while his colleague Robin Vickery warned that by levelling off the Cornhill and introducing steps, the area would no longer be available for parades by the military or Scouts and Guides.

Ms Jones said she was “disappointed but not surprised” by the Ipswich Society’s objections. After the meeting Mr Norman said the Society was not opposed to changing the Cornhill – but felt the proposed alterations were not fully thought through.

Not all opposition councillors were opposed to the plans. Former council leader Liz Harsant welcomed the plan: “We’ve taken a long time to get to this stage – now just go on and do it!”

The borough is now hoping to go to tender soon and get work started in January and completed by Christmas 2018.


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