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How face masks are helping bring shoppers back to Ipswich town centre

PUBLISHED: 06:00 08 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:26 08 September 2020

More shoppers are having the confidence to go into the town centre - a confidence boosted by more people wearing face coverings according to Ipswich Central chair Terry Baxter. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

More shoppers are having the confidence to go into the town centre - a confidence boosted by more people wearing face coverings according to Ipswich Central chair Terry Baxter. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Town centre bosses in Ipswich hope that the area could be winning back shoppers and other visitors in the wake of lockdown being lifted – just as retailers start thinking about the festive season ahead.

Opening hours at the Crown car park have been extended. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCILOpening hours at the Crown car park have been extended. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

Last weekend was probably the busiest in the town centre since the lockdown started in March with shoppers out in force on Saturday and the additional attraction of the return of the Ipswich Farmers’ Market on Sunday.

MORE: The return of Ipswich Farmers’ Market

Last weekend was probably the busiest in the town centre since the lockdown started in March with shoppers out in force on Saturday and the additional attraction of the return of the Ipswich Farmers’ Market on Sunday.

That success has prompted the borough council to extend the opening hours of the town’s largest car park – the Crown Park will open from 8am six days a week from the end of this week – in a bid to attract more people.

Shoppers walk past the new Deichmann store which is taking shape.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNShoppers walk past the new Deichmann store which is taking shape. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Council leader David Ellesmere said: “We have been opening later because it is the only car park we have left that needs to be permanently staffed – and until this weekend there has always been space in the next door William Street car park before 10.30am.

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“That changed this weekend, so we have reacted straight away and we plan to open from 8am Monday to Saturday from now on. It is good to see more people back in the town I hope that continues.”

He said while Ipswich town centre did suffer in the week because of fewer people working in offices, the wider area did benefit from the spending power of commuters who normally travelled to London every day but were now working at home.

Ipswich Central chair Terry Baxter said businesses had noticed an increasing number of people in the town: “This is good news because it suggests that the work we have been doing to improve public confidence in coming back to the shops and other businesses has been working.

“I have to say well done to David for coming to the quick decision to open the car park earlier – that is the kind of move we need in the town, and it is good to see people coming back and wearing their masks which helps to give others the confidence to come back.”

Most shops in the town centre have reopened and work to create a new Deichmann shoe shop in the former Burton’s store is continuing.

MORE: Deichmann to replace Burtons in Ipswich town centre

Retailers and town centre businesses generally are now anxiously watching trade to see how the next few months goes – it is the last quarter of the year that is crucial for many stores as they hope to attract Christmas shoppers.


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