Three-day Cornhill market gets go-ahead
TRADERS at Ipswich market today claimed victory in the battle to move on to the Cornhill.They crossed the final hurdle when Ipswich council planners voted unanimously in favour of the move – and they'll be allowed to operate there three days a week.
By Paul Geater
TRADERS at Ipswich market today claimed victory in the battle to move on to the Cornhill.
They crossed the final hurdle when Ipswich council planners voted unanimously in favour of the move – and they'll be allowed to operate there three days a week.
Traders' leader Mike Young was one of the first to celebrate – and was quick to praise the people of Ipswich and the Evening Star who had campaigned for the move.
"We couldn't have achieved this without such wonderful support, thank you very much. Now we can go on and make this market the success we know it can be," he said.
The decision came the day after the borough's executive committee voted in favour of allowing the move, backing down in its proposal that the market could move into the heart of the town only on a Saturday.
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The executive decided last night that the market could operate from the Cornhill on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays until September.
By then a new market operator should be appointed – and a medium-term future for the 800-year-old market should become clearer.
Only 34 stalls will be permitted on the Cornhill – a combination of the current general market which has nine regular traders and the existing craft market.
Traders fear that if it is successful, a new operator will move in and try to run a larger market which could be forced back to the Civic Centre car park.
But if the market is successful on the Cornhill – and judging from the response of the public there is a great deal of goodwill out there – it would be political suicide for any councillors to try to move it away.
There are still final negotiations and a formal agreement to be drawn up between the market traders and the council.
But the market is expected to move on to the Cornhill some time during March.
And as the council's development control committee voted to approve the move today, there were appeals for the public to support the move.
"The level of interest in this has been clear – what is needed now is for all those people who have signed coupons or petitions to put their money where their mouth is and use the market on the Cornhill," said Ipswich councillor Richard Risebrow.
He had been frustrated that the council had been seen as the "bad-guy" in the campaign to save the market.
"Some of the sites suggested by people just weren't available to us. If we don't own the land we can't put the market somewhere," he said.
Council spokesman for planning and economic development, Phil Smart, told last night's meeting that the market would only be able to occupy part of the Cornhill which was owned by the borough.
"It cannot go on to the highway land," he said. "Places where markets do operate on the highway is either through historic precedent or because they are turning a blind eye to the situation. We cannot do that."
Mr Smart said that the one-day a week option had been agreed with the traders at the end of last year, but they had since changed their minds and wanted the market on the Cornhill three days a week. The council would not oppose that.
His Labour colleague John le Grys told the executive everyone was anxious that the situation should be resolved.
"It's very frustrating, I know I speak for everyone in this room when I say we all want the market to survive and flourish," he said.
After last night's meeting market traders were already preparing to come back today.
"We are concerned about what will happen later in the year, but so far things are looking all right," said traders' spokesman Mike Young.
"The support of the public and from the Evening Star has been absolutely crucial in getting us this far.
"We've shown that people who told us there was no support for the market in this town were wrong," he said.