Where next for Ipswich market as Cornhill plans start to fall into place?
PUBLISHED: 07:39 29 August 2017 | UPDATED: 15:02 29 August 2017
With work on Ipswich Cornhill due to start in January next year, the fate of the town's market while the work is being carried out is due to be decided next month. Where do you think it should go?
A crucial meeting between market traders and their landlord, the borough council, is due to decide whether the stalls will be sited along Princes Street and Queen Street and around Giles’ Circus.
Or will they be located along Tavern Street and Westgate Street in front of stores like Marks and Spencer, Boots, and H&M?
The traders themselves are nervous about leaving the Cornhill, even temporarily, after fighting hard to be able to move to the town centre in a battle spearheaded by the Star 15 years ago.
Most seem to prefer the idea of moving into Tavern Street/Westgate Street where they see the largest number of shoppers walking past.
However the Queen Street site was always that planned for them to occupy when they left the Cornhill. Services were laid into the road so stalls would have access to electricity and it is wide enough for stalls to be set up without blocking emergency vehicles.
For others the concern is the size of their stalls and where that could be fitted in on the new-look market.
Micky Catchpole owns Coxy’s Fruit and Veg, the largest stall on the market, and employs seven people selling produce four days a week.
He is concerned that he will not be able to set up such a large stall – and there will be no time for him to make any necessary changes.
He said: “They have been talking about rebuilding the Cornhill for years, but now it seems they are only going to talk to the market at the last minute.
“If I’ve got to change the size of the stall or set it up in a different way I need time to plan that. There are seven people working for me here and we have to know where we are – they all have mortgages or bills to pay, lives to lead. There just isn’t going to be the time.”
The work on the Cornhill is scheduled to start in January next year and be completed by November in time for the start of the 2018 Christmas season – effectively forcing the market to move for at least a year and when it returns it is likely to be in a slightly different position because of the changes.
Traders concerned about market move
Traders on Ipswich market fear a move away from the Cornhill could seriously hit the number of customers they see.
Michael Ransom who replaces watch batteries and straps on the market said he was concerned a move could force some traders away. He said: “I’ve been here 20 years and I’ve seen lots of people come and go. If we’re going to survive as a market we need to be established here. I know we’ve got to move, but we need to be as near this site as possible.”
Stevie Singh sells mobile phone accessories and also felt it was vital the market remained in the town centre.
He said: “If we have to go to Queen Street will people still come to us? There’s not as many people down there and I don’t know how we’d do.”
A council spokesman said: “We are meeting the market traders in early September to discuss the options available. After that we shall be consulting with businesses and the public before announcing a decision.”