Parents' concern over switch-on barriers
VISITORS who turned up to watch Ipswich's Christmas lights being switched on today spoke of their disappointment after being kept behind barriers.Thousands of people gathered at the Cornhill on Sunday night to witness the spectacle but some were left upset as the central area was cordoned off, leaving many with a restricted view.
VISITORS who turned up to watch Ipswich's Christmas lights being switched on today spoke of their disappointment after being kept behind barriers.
Thousands of people gathered at the Cornhill on Sunday night to witness the spectacle but some were left upset as the central area was cordoned off, leaving many with a restricted view.
Some parents criticised the event organisers for being separated from their children but Ipswich Central, the town centre management body which put on the event, defended its actions, saying the problems were a result of the event being so popular.
Neil Spink, from Ipswich, went to the switch-on for the first time with his wife Jackie, and their two daughters Abby, 14, and Melissa, 17.
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Having waited there for a while, Mr and Mrs Spink decided to go somewhere warm for a drink but when they went back to the Cornhill at 4.45pm, the area had been cordoned off and security refused to let them through.
Mr Spink said he was concerned for the safety of his youngest daughter who was on the other side of the barrier.
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He said: “We think it is absolutely unforgivable. There was no atmosphere where we were and we could not hear or see a thing.
“Thank God for mobile phones, as we were able to make sure our daughter could meet us in a safe place afterwards.”
Melanie Barker also had similar problems. She arrived with her family at 4.30pm to watch the event but did not get a space anywhere near the Christmas tree.
She said: “We had to watch the lights being turned on with the children only being able to see a slice of the Christmas tree. We saw one mother being told that she was not allowed to go through the security barrier, even though her young son was standing just the other side on his own.”
The Ipswich Central switch-on was organised with Suffolk County Council, suffolkonboard.com, SGRfm and Ipswich Borough Council.
Paul Clement, executive director of Ipswich Central, which is responsible for the management of the town centre, said: “Ipswich Central can only apologise for anyone who was inconvenienced.
“This is now a capacity event each year and visitors need to get to the Cornhill as early as possible to take their place. Ipswich is fortunate, however, to have an event that attracts such large crowds for the day.”
Did you have problems with Sunday's large crowd? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail email@example.com.