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Ipswich Cornhill finally set to open after major restoration

PUBLISHED: 07:30 30 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:16 30 October 2018

Progress on the Cornhill as it nears completion  Picture: ARCHANT

Progress on the Cornhill as it nears completion Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Cornhill is set to open to the public by the end of this week following a £3.56 million restoration.

Cornhill redevelopment is drawing to a close. Picture: Natalie Sadler
Cornhill redevelopment is drawing to a close. Picture: Natalie Sadler

A water feature in front of the Cornhill will also be fully functioning following the nine month scheme.

The borough council, which has been managing the project, and its contractors are hopeful all work will be completed by Wednesday evening except fitting the balustrades – these should be delivered on Thursday when they should be fitted.

Officials hope that county council highways officials will be able to complete a safety audit of the Cornhill early on Friday morning allowing the safety barriers to have been removed by lunchtime.

The only element of the redevelopment that should not be completed by the end of the week is the “Gateway” art installation in the corner of the Cornhill near the new Pret a Manger shop and Debenhams.

That should be installed by the end of November, but it will not be fitted in time for the switch-on of the town’s Christmas lights on November 22.

A borough spokesman said the installation should be delivered to the town within in early November – but it was felt more important to concentrate on getting the town’s real Christmas Tree and decorations up in time for the switch-on first.

However as soon as the lights are on the artwork could be moved into place although if there is any further delay it would be left until the new year.

Work is continuing on converting the former Grimwades store into a Pret a Manger. Workers are on the upstairs which will be the seating area, and there is some work to do on the ground floor. The exterior of the building is being painted.

The water feature has been successfully tested many times over the last few days with its 16,000-litre tank and 18-spout fountain working without any problems.

Staff from Brooks and Wood have been working seven days a week recently to make sure the Cornhill is finished on time – and the scene in the heart of town is changing on a daily basis.

Meanwhile the market will stay in its current location in Princes Street – but is expecting to attract more shoppers as the pedestrian route from the Cornhill and Lloyds Avenue is fully reopened.

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