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New hope for Grimwades as Ipswich council says plinths must remain

PUBLISHED: 19:00 04 June 2019

Fitting out work is starting at the former Grimwades store on Ipswich Cornhill. Picture; PAUL GEATER

Fitting out work is starting at the former Grimwades store on Ipswich Cornhill. Picture; PAUL GEATER

Archant

Could a new tenant soon be found for the former Grimwades store on the edge of the Cornhill as the council prepares to replace the controversial plinths outside it?

The borough council is not happy with the finish of the plinths on Ipswich Cornhill. Picture: PAUL GEATERThe borough council is not happy with the finish of the plinths on Ipswich Cornhill. Picture: PAUL GEATER

As we revealed yesterday, the concrete "Four Arches" structure - described by many as "Cornhenge" - are to be replaced at the end of the summer with polished plinths that meet the original specification.

This has prompted some people to ask why they are being replaced and not removed altogether - but a spokesman for Ipswich Council said they were a "Marmite feature" with as many supporters as those wanting to see them gone.

He said: "They add an element of height to the redevelopment of the Cornhill and once the final plinths are put in place, we're confident more people will like them - we have already heard from many people who like the concept even if the concrete doesn't look very good."

As the debate on the plinths continues, construction workers have moved in to fit out the former Grimwades store that was being converted into a Pret a Manger last year.

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The up-market sandwich chain pulled out of the deal just before Christmas with the interior unfinished. It is understood that the building's landlords have found it difficult to find a new tenant to move into a half-completed unit and have decided to finish fitting it out themselves.

They hope this will make it easier to find a new tenant within the next few months - although no one is lined up at present.

During the fine summer days the Cornhill has been full - many families with young children enjoy sitting down near the fountains that have become a popular feature.

The safety work on the Cornhill is expected to get underway within the next weeks after the borough got the recommendations of an independent expert - the full report cannot be published until after the completion of the inquest into John Stow who died the day after falling down steps there in January.

The council is to install extra handrails, a permanent barrier beside the tapered step in front of the Old Post Office, and improve the definition of the steps so they can be more easily seen by people on the Cornhill.

This work is due to be completed over the summer - with the new plinths installed by October half term.

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