Arras Square ahead in public vote for next Ipswich development

Trees and vehicles are causing serious damage to the paving in Arras Square. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Trees and vehicles are causing serious damage to the paving in Arras Square. Picture: PAUL GEATER - Credit: Archant

Improving Arras Square between the Buttermarket Centre and St Stephen’s Church is the most popular project for Ipswich council to move on to after refurbishing the Cornhill.

Last week we revealed that the borough was asking the public to vote on which of four rebuilding projects they would prefer to see next in the town centre. It has a £3m pot put aside for “public realm” improvements.

Repaving and cleaning up Arras Square is the clear favourite among more than 650 people who have so far taken part in our online poll.

It has taken 38% of the votes – significantly ahead of improving Major’s Corner which has attracted 26% of the vote.

Arras Square was created when the Buttermarket centre was opened in 1992 but its paving has been seriously undermined by trees planted in it – and vehicles driving over what should be a pedestrianised area.

If this area is the next to be improved, some of the trees would have to be removed (experts agree they were planted too close to each other and are struggling to get enough moisture and nutrients from the soil) and others would have to be thinned to open up the area.

It is felt that improving Arras Square could make it easier to find a tenant for the former BHS cafe – and would also be a boost for the new restaurants that have opened in the Buttermarket centre over the last few years.

Most Read

However there would need to be strict traffic regulations and a possible roadblock to prevent vehicles using the paving illegally.

Ipswich council is conducting its own survey of people’s views about which of the four potential projects are most popular.

The other two potential development areas are Lloyds Avenue and Princes Street Bridge near Ipswich railway station.

It is planning to announce the result at the end of the consultation at the end February, but it is understood that the “running total” of votes is not remarkably different to our online poll.

A spokesman for the borough said: “We are very pleased at the number of people who have taken part in our consultation so far – and the survey remains open until February 27.

“It is important that the people who live in Ipswich and regularly visit the town have their say in what should be the next area to be improved.”