New look for Cornhill still in the balance despite Queen Street go-ahead
- Credit: Archant
Hopes for a quick start on revitalising Ipswich town centre by refurbishing the Cornhill appeared slim today despite the publication of a new plan for improvements to nearby Queen Street.
And no work could start on the Cornhill before the middle of next year at the earliest – even if the money does become available, which is looking increasingly problematic.
The work at Queen Street is a vital prelude to any Cornhill redevelopment because the town’s market would have to relocate there, at least while construction work is under way.
However the funding of the scheme – estimated somewhere between £3.2 and £4 million – has serious question marks over it.
At the time the proposal was announced a year ago, it was said this would be a combination of public funding from Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council along with the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and private funding from Ipswich Central.
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The borough has put aside £1 million for the project, but the county is now saying that its contribution is the work to Queen Street – a claim that is fiercely disputed by the borough and Ipswich Central.
County council leader Mark Bee said: “Our commitment can clearly be seen through our key investment in roads and transport infrastructure over the last few years enabling us to create and develop a town centre which is fit for the future.
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“It is now imperative that partners can jointly discuss a firm way forward in attracting further monetary investment in areas such as the Cornhill. I feel very strongly that this is not solely for the council taxpayer to fund.”
It is a situation that provoked irritation from the borough’s Labour leader David Ellesmere. He said: “Unless the county council puts forward some money we are not going to be able to attract additional finance.”