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Will the Christmas craft market return to the Cornhill?

PUBLISHED: 05:30 31 December 2018

The Christmas Craft Market on Ipswich Cornhill  Picture: ARCHANT

The Christmas Craft Market on Ipswich Cornhill Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Traders say the pre-Christmas craft market on Ipswich Cornhill was a major commercial success with tens of thousands of shoppers heading through the big tent - but it continues to divide opinion in the town.

The Christmas Craft Market attracted tens of thousands of visitors. Picture; PAUL GEATERThe Christmas Craft Market attracted tens of thousands of visitors. Picture; PAUL GEATER

And there has been no decision made on whether it should return next year or where it should go if it does.

Shoppers who visited the craft market during its last few days had been told by some stallholders that it would be back next year for four weeks instead of two, and with a larger tent for more traders because it had been so successful.

But an Ipswich council spokesman denied any decision about next year had been taken – there have been concerns that the tent was too large and hid the town’s Christmas tree. There were also fears raised by some traders that the market had occupied their customers at the busiest time of the year.

The spokesman said: “We are aware that the operators of the craft market were delighted by the number of people who visited it, an average of about 5,000 a day, so from that point of view it was a success.

Ipswich Vision chairman Terry Baxter Picture: NICOLE DRURY/IBCIpswich Vision chairman Terry Baxter Picture: NICOLE DRURY/IBC

“However there were other issues that we shall have to discuss with other organisations. There has been no final decision on what happens on the Cornhill next Christmas – we shall be talking to lots of people before we take a decision on that.”

The tree was provided by Ipswich Central, the group which represents town centre businesses in Ipswich – especially retailers and leisure operators.

Chairman Terry Baxter said: “It’s good to know that the market brought extra people into the town centre – but there are many issues that all the parties will need to discuss before any decisions are made about next Christmas.

“The Ipswich Vision Partnership (which includes Ipswich Central, the borough council, the county council and other groups) is due to discuss the plans for Cornhill events in 2019 at its board meeting in January and I’m sure our thoughts on the market will be considered during that.”

Mr Baxter pointed out that the borough had the final say on what happens at the Cornhill, but over recent months the council had been very keen to involve all the partners as much as possible.

Organisers of the craft market were approached for comment but had not responded in time for publication.

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