Revamp set for Corn Exchange

IPSWICH Corn Exchange could get a £5 million makeover within the next few years, The Evening Star can reveal today.Bosses at the borough council were due to reveal more details today about what they want to see happening to the entertainment venue in the town centre.

IPSWICH Corn Exchange could get a £5 million makeover within the next few years, The Evening Star can reveal today.

Bosses at the borough council were due to reveal more details today about what they want to see happening to the entertainment venue in the town centre.

And they will be looking nationwide for a development partner to come in and transform the Victorian building.

The Grand Hall and the exterior of the building are listed and will be retained as a public open space whatever happens.


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But the rest of the building could change radically to meet the needs of the 21st century.

The Robert Cross Hall and the bar area would be remodelled, as would the former Horkey bar which was used as the Age Concern tearoom for a few weeks last year.

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The Film Theatre will be retained - councillors were saying today that its future is not in question - but its future location is set to go out to public consultation.

Council leisure spokeswoman Judy Terry was today outlining the proposals - but the revamp of the Corn Exchange which opened as Ipswich's “Village Hall” in 1975 is dependent on private sector partners.

Mrs Terry said: “The amount we are talking about here, in the region of £5 million, is not available from borough funds.

“We shall be looking across the country for private sector partners who could help us to maximise the use we get from the Corn Exchange.

“So far as the film theatre is concerned we shall be putting forward a number of options including remaining where it is, becoming a stand-alone facility elsewhere in the town or linking up with the university.

“We want to know what people think - but closure is not an option.”

The former Labour administration at Civic Centre had considered closing the Corn Exchange to free up more money for the town's Regent Theatre.

The new Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration pledged to keep both entertainment venues open, but the council leisure strategy published last year said better use should be made of the lower floors of the Corn Exchange.

At present the Robert Cross Hall is used for temporary exhibitions and smaller social events - however the remodelling of the town hall galleries in the same building means that there are now alternative venues for such events.

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