Vital 24 hours for Ipswich Market
THE next 24 hours are vital in the battle to save Ipswich Market – but traders are determined to carry on their fight.Ipswich council's executive committee is meeting tonight and is expected to give the go-ahead for the market to move to the Cornhill – but only on Saturdays.
By Paul Geater
THE next 24 hours are vital in the battle to save Ipswich Market – but traders are determined to carry on their fight.
Ipswich council's executive committee is meeting tonight and is expected to give the go-ahead for the market to move to the Cornhill – but only on Saturdays.
And tomorrow the borough's development control committee is expected to grant planning permission for the move.
But the traders aren't happy with the moves – and feel that the borough is still trying to drive them out of town.
They want to be able to operate from the Cornhill three days a week: Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
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And they fear that the council could force them to leave the Cornhill in the summer – once the crucial local elections are out of the way.
The proposed move to the Cornhill is linked with the council's wish to see a new market operator move into town.
The council wants the new operator to take over the market by September this year.
It employed consultants who concluded that the best place for the market was where it is now – and where the number of stalls has dwindled from 74 in 1984 to just nine today.
Market traders fear this would be the worst possible solution.
"For the next few months we'd be in one place on Tuesdays and Fridays and somewhere else on Saturdays," said Mike Young, chairman of the co-operative currently running what is left of the market.
"And there's no guarantee we would still be able to use the Cornhill after September – we'd need to be another planning application.
"The market cannot survive here – and the council just cannot or will not recognise that."
Traders will be presenting the Evening Star's "Save our Market" petition at tomorrow's meeting of the development control committee.
More than 3,000 people have signed more than 100 petition forms which will be handed in to councillors.
That is just one expression of support that has come flooding in to the market traders.
We've had more than 1,000 hits on our Evening Star online poll – and 80 per cent have been in favour of the market moving to a central location.
And there have been 810 coupons returned to us supporting the market's planned move – with just two against.
Last week's Valentine's Fair on the Cornhill also raised hackles among market traders.
"Apparently it is fine for the council to allow the entire Cornhill with fairground stalls for a whole week – and even send the mayor along to endorse it.
"But they grudgingly say we can only use a little bit of the Cornhill once a week.
"If they're claiming safety grounds, how easy would it be to get a fire appliance through the fairground? Our stalls can all be moved very quickly by six people," Mr Young said.