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Final safety work starts on Ipswich Cornhill after report following tragedy

PUBLISHED: 12:15 25 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:39 25 November 2019

Work being done on the Cornhill steps  Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Work being done on the Cornhill steps Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charlotte Bond

Work has finally started on replacing steps on Ipswich Cornhill nearly a year after the death of a pedestrian the day after he fell down them.

The planters on Ipswich Cornhill had signs to warn visitors about the steps  Picture: PAUL GEATERThe planters on Ipswich Cornhill had signs to warn visitors about the steps Picture: PAUL GEATER

There had been a number of reports of people tripping on the steps after the new Cornhill opened last November.

But on January 20 83-year-old shopper John Stow from Ipswich fell down steps and died the following day in hospital.

A full inquest into his death has still to be held, but after the tragedy Ipswich Council called in an independent expert to look at the safety of the Cornhill work and recommend any improvements needed.

Now it is putting those works into action.

Work being done on the Cornhill steps  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDWork being done on the Cornhill steps Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

New tactile paving has now arrived and, after being thoroughly checked by councillor officials, work started on Monday November 25 on installing it.

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The work is expected to be completed by the middle of February - providing there is no severe weather over the next two months - but there will be a break over the Christmas and New Year period.

A spokesman for the borough council said the new paving meets all relevant health and safety requirements

Each set of steps will be replaced in turn - starting with those nearest to the National Westminster Bank.

The works area will be safely cordoned off - in a similar manner to when the "Cornhenge" plinths were removed - although the council does not anticipate heavy machinery being required

The spokesman said: "The removal of the plinths caused little disruption and we anticipate less for the works to the steps, although cutting out the old steps will be noisy - the contractor's estimate is half-day work for each set of steps.

"The market and businesses around the Cornhill have been informed and will be open as usual."

The council did take some prompt work when commissioning the report including placing planters at the top of the steps to force walkers to watch where they were walking.

However it did take time to identify the best material for the new steps and to appoint contractors to carry out the work which should finally finish the refurbishment of the Cornhill which started early last year.

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