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Ipswich given £50,000 to boost what's on at the Cornhill

PUBLISHED: 16:00 28 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:42 28 June 2019

Ipswich Cornhill will be the focus of a summer of fun.  Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Ipswich Cornhill will be the focus of a summer of fun. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Rachel Edge

Crowds could be drawn into Ipswich's newly-revamped Cornhill after a £50,000 grant to help stage more activities there was given the go-ahead.

The regenerated town centre area reopened last year after millions of pounds was spent creating a flat surface for events and new seating areas.

The aim was to revitalise a town centre leaders admitted was previously uninspiring with an attractive area capable of staging a variety of events.

The scheme has not been without its controversy, not least following the tragic death of John Stow after a fall at the new Cornhill steps.

But the new town centre has recently attracted thousands of people with various events, particularly last weekend when a bumper two days saw a jazz showcase and Windrush Celebration Day.

Ipswich Cornhill. Picture: PAUL GEATERIpswich Cornhill. Picture: PAUL GEATER

April also saw a series of attractions, including retro gaming and the first Ipswich farmers' market.

A programme of events between now and next April has been drawn up thanks to £25,000 from Ipswich Borough Council and £25,000 from Ipswich Central business improvement district (BID).

Now the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has matched that total with £50,000 of its own, doubling the amount available for events until April 2020.

Ipswich Vision co-ordinator Cathy Frost said: "This will enable us to support events on the Cornhill.

A series of summer events on Ipswich's Cornhill kicked off with a showcase of jazz. Picture: PAGEPIXA series of summer events on Ipswich's Cornhill kicked off with a showcase of jazz. Picture: PAGEPIX

"When we have events on the Cornhill, we see spikes in activity. In April, the spikes hit figures that we were seeing at Christmas in terms of total visitors."

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The Cornhill's 2019-20 activity plan had already been designed in the hope that the LEP money would be confirmed.

However Ms Frost said the amount funding available means town centre leaders are open to allowing new events, provided organisers can show they will be of value to the town and visitors.

"The Cornhill activity plan is about how we generate a buzz about the place," she said.

But she warned: "This pot of money isn't going to last forever," adding that Ipswich Vision will have to demonstrate the benefit the events have had in the town if it is to win future grants.

Future events already planned for the Cornhill include film screenings of the Secret Life of Pets and Spiderman on Wednesday, July 24 to celebrate the start of the school holidays.

And there will be two days of live music at the Cornhill to celebrate Ed Sheeran's homecoming gig in Ipswich in August.

Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "It's a great public space to hold events throughout the year and we're delighted how well the events have been received by residents, visitors and businesses.

"The LEP has invested in the refurbishment of the Cornhill last year with Ipswich Vision partners Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Central and having a dedicated events programme is a great pull into the town centre.

"It's creating a vibrancy in the heart of Ipswich, increasing footfall and dwell time, and is attracting more visitors to Suffolk's Waterfront town.

"These are very important factors in delivering this programme.

"We invite everyone to come to Cornhill and join in the fun and events this summer."

■ What do you think of the new Cornhill? Write, giving your full contact details, to andrew.papworth@archant.co.uk

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