Real Christmas tree coming back to the Cornhill in Ipswich town centre – but not until 2017

This is set to be the last year for this decoration on the Cornhill.

This is set to be the last year for this decoration on the Cornhill. - Credit: Archant

Ipswich is to have a real Christmas Tree on the Cornhill again from next year, we can exclusively reveal today.

The real tree will be provided by Ipswich Central in association with the Star – and there will continue to be a real tree for the following four years.

The pledge came as Ipswich Central has been given another five years to promote and support businesses in the heart of the town.

It won an overwhelming 95% support to carry on among businesses who took part in the statutory ballot in the town centre.

That means it will now continued to promote the town, organise the town rangers, and push ahead with proposals to continue to implement the Ipswich Vision over the next five years.

It is also going to boost efforts to promote Ipswich as a destination for day visitors and those who are looking for holidays and short breaks in the area.

Businesses pay just over 1% of their rateable value to Ipswich Central to carry out its work – and it needs to get their support to carry on every five years.

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Of the businesses in the town centre 64% took part in the ballot.

Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement said: “We are delighted by the result, and I can confirm today that one of the first real indications of what this will mean to the town will be the return of a real Christmas Tree from 2017.

“We cannot change things this year, but for following five years (to 2021) we will supply a real Christmas tree for the town centre.

“We know there is a strong desire for a real tree to return to the heart of the town.”

The news is a victory for Sylvia Mitchell who started an online petition calling for a real tree to be restored – the current white decoration was introduced from 2012.

The result of the ballot was welcomed by borough leader David Ellesmere: “This is a vote of confidence in Ipswich Central and the BID team.

“It means they will continue to work to make the town safer – encouraging more people to come to Ipswich with services like the rangers and taxi marshals.”

The marshals operate in the evenings – and have improved security for those enjoying the night-time economy.