Ipswich: Market traders concerned over lack of space for their stalls in new look Cornhill

Ipswich Market.

Ipswich Market. - Credit: Archant

The proposed £3.5million revamp of the Cornhill in the heart of Ipswich has been given a decisive thumbs-down by those who work and shop at the town’s market.

The proposed scheme was welcomed by politicians from all sides, business leaders, and university chiefs when it was unveiled earlier this week.

It would involve the creation of a flat area between the Town Hall, old Post Office, and Princes Street/Westgate Street shops.

Architects Hall McKnight said this area would be flexible, and some of their sketches showed provision for the market.

However fish stall owner Mike Young, who has been trading in Ipswich for many years, said there would not be enough space for the market and traders would not want to move to the other side of the Cornhill where there are not so many customers.

He said: “This town is really struggling and the market needs support. We cannot have our space reduced and be shunted off to one side. If you don’t trade from the front of the main route for shoppers then you won’t make enough to survive.

“Pushing the market to one side is no good. If that was to happen, you’d have to have the big stalls which need supplies of power in the Cornhill and smaller stalls could be put up along the side of Tavern Street.

“But we have been promised by the council that we can stay here in the town centre, and we expect them to respect that promise.”

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Shoppers were vociferous in their opposition to changes to the Cornhill: “We don’t want them wasting millions on mucking this up – leave the market alone. Everyone loves it!” said one enthusiastic customer at Mr Young’s stall.

Meanwhile contributors to our online poll were split down the middle on whether the heart of Ipswich should be redeveloped at all.

Of those who took part in the poll, 49% said it should be left as it is. A total of 27% backed the proposed new design while 24% said they would like to see a different new design for the heart of the town.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, who was part of the panel that unanimously supported the proposed changes to the Cornhill, remains enthusiastic about the proposal.

He said: “Ipswich is a town that needs to attract new investment in its town centre. We have seen how new investment can boost town and city centres in Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge, and Norwich.

“Once there has been investment like this in the heart of the town it will be a signal to retailers that this is a town moving in the right direction and it will attract much more investment over the next few years. This is an absolutely vital project for Ipswich.”

He said the unanimous decision of the committee showed that the proposed scheme had widespread support.