Medieval walkway find will allow work to start in Ipswich Cornhill

Excavation work on the Cornhill has been completed. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Excavation work on the Cornhill has been completed. Picture: PAUL GEATER - Credit: Archant

Archaeologists digging under Ipswich Cornhill have found nothing that should delay rebuilding work starting there early in the new year.

They have found evidence of a Medieval walkway and a fragment of pottery from the same era – but nothing that had not been expected in the area.

That should mean work on the £3.2m remodelling of the town’s central square should start early next year. It is due to be finished by the end of 2018, allowing the Cornhill to be reopened in time for next year’s Christmas celebrations.

If anything unexpected or especially valuable had been found in the trench, it could have required the council to commission a full excavation of the area which could have delayed the start of work on redeveloping the Cornhill by several months.

A council spokesman said: “After careful documentation and excavation of the medieval road surface the team delved deeper and uncovered a small piece of pottery.”

The trench that was dug earlier this month will now be filled in – the paving is due to be replaced by the end of the week which will allow the Cornhill to continue as normal for the next few months.

It is due to be used for a number of events during the autumn and winter – including being home to the town’s Christmas Tree in December which will be a real tree this year instead of the modern decoration that has had pride of place in the heart of the town for the last few years.

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The borough is currently going through the procurement process to find a contractor to carry out the work on the Cornhill to ensure that work is able to start on time as soon as the Christmas period is over.

A decision about what will happen to the market during the rebuilding work has still to be confirmed – a clear majority of shoppers want it to move to Queen Street and Princes Street according to a survey on our website.

Electricity and other services were installed in the Queen Street area as part of the reconstruction of that street earlier this year.

However the market traders themselves would be prefer the market to operate along Westgate Street and Tavern Street.

Borough council bosses are talking to traders, shoppers and other businesses in the town centre before making a final decision on the market.