Time to cel­e­brate

Ready for Christ­mas, the re­de­vel­op­ment of Ip­swich’s Corn­hill breathes new life into the county town

EADT Suffolk - - EXPLORE IPSWICH -

Ip­swich is pre­par­ing for Christ­mas and the fes­tive buzz is build­ing in Suf­folk’s county town. At the heart of it all is the new-look Corn­hill, which has been trans­formed. Al­ways the fo­cal point of Ip­swich’s town cen­tre, Corn­hill has long been used for cel­e­bra­tions, in­clud­ing Ip­swich Town’s FA Cup win in 1978 and pro­mo­tion to the Premier League in 2000. Now, re­freshed and re­vived, the Corn­hill is mak­ing the town cen­tre some­thing to be proud of.

The re­de­vel­op­ment, part of a huge trans­for­ma­tion un­der way in the town, aims to sup­port Ip­swich in be­com­ing a thriv­ing re­tail and com­mer­cial des­ti­na­tion. It is the brain­child of the Ip­swich Vi­sion Group and has been led by Ip­swich Bor­ough Coun­cil, the New An­glia Lo­cal En­ter­prise Part­ner­ship, Suf­folk County Coun­cil and Ip­swich Cen­tral.

The old, tired and worn paving has gone and in its place is an ex­cit­ing new de­sign by in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned ar­chi­tects Hall McK­night, made a real­ity by lo­cal con­trac­tors Brooks & Wood. The aim is to make Corn­hill a des­ti­na­tion in its own right and a real cel­e­bra­tion of ev­ery­thing Ip­swich is about. It’s a place to linger, to meet friends and to en­joy a num­ber of new ac­tiv­i­ties and events com­ing to the town cen­tre.

It fea­tures thought­ful, mod­ern de­sign, re­flect­ing Ip­swich’s sta­tus as a key busi­ness and tourism hub, but also sen­si­tively re­tain­ing

its her­itage through its ref­er­ence to key ar­chi­tec­tural fea­tures.

As well as paving there is new seat­ing, colour­ful or­na­men­tal trees, and an im­pres­sive water fea­ture with 18 chore­ographed jets de­signed to pro­vide a daz­zling dis­play. In ad­di­tion, four strik­ing gate­way fea­tures will cel­e­brate the fig­ures on top of the Town Hall, as well as the town’s his­toric gates.

The new Corn­hill was ap­proved af­ter consultation with mem­bers of the pub­lic and lo­cal busi­nesses, many of whom were keen to see ma­jor im­prove­ments to the town cen­tre. Ip­swich Bor­ough Coun­cil leader David Ellesmere said: “It was es­sen­tial to cre­ate some­thing that worked for res­i­dents, vis­i­tors and busi­nesses. Ip­swich is a town that is well and truly on the map and we now have a town cen­tre to be ex­tremely proud of.”

THE FES­TIVE SEA­SON

Through­out the re­de­vel­op­ment, Ip­swich Bor­ough Coun­cil, on be­half of the Ip­swich Vi­sion part­ners, con­ducted a sur­vey to ask res­i­dents what events they would like to see on the Corn­hill once it was com­pleted. Over half (54%) wanted a fes­tive craft fair, re­flect­ing those in other parts of Suf­folk and in Europe. So, be­tween De­cem­ber 10 and 23, Corn­hill will proudly host a Christ­mas fair run by Eden Crafts, in which shoppers will be of­fered a su­perb se­lec­tion of sea­sonal wares.

In ad­di­tion, the town’s pop­u­lar mar­ket, which op­er­ates four days a week in Princes Street, will con­tinue to at­tract shoppers from far and wide.

THE FU­TURE

The sur­vey also showed that two thirds (67%) of re­spon­dents will feel prouder of Ip­swich once it has a mod­ern and ex­cit­ing town square, while more than half (55%) said they are feel­ing more op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture of Ip­swich town cen­tre as a re­sult of the Corn­hill re­de­vel­op­ment.

Ip­swich Vi­sion mem­bers hope that by in­ject­ing new life into the heart of Ip­swich, the re­newal of the Corn­hill will make the town cen­tre a place for vis­i­tors to eat, shop and en­joy them­selves. There are plans to not only en­cour­age new busi­nesses to move in, but also to cre­ate space for more spe­cial events through­out the year.

The sur­vey re­vealed that peo­ple would most like to see food and drink fes­ti­vals (68%) and live mu­sic (63%), as well as a Christ­mas fair and live screen­ings, and a num­ber of events are cur­rently in the pipe­line.

MORE TO COME

Ip­swich has been named as one of the fastest grow­ing ur­ban cen­tres in Eng­land by The UK Pow­er­house, and has huge po­ten­tial for growth. It is home to the high­est num­ber of Arts Coun­cil Na­tional Port­fo­lio Organisations in the re­gion in­clud­ing DanceEast, the New Wolsey The­atre and the Pacitti Com­pany, the or­gan­iser be­hind the Spill Fes­ti­val.

The UK Pow­er­house re­port also re­vealed that Ip­swich had the sec­ond-high­est GVA growth rate (a mea­sure of the value of goods and ser­vices pro­duced) recorded in the UK in the first three months of this year (2.5%).

It seems the fu­ture is bright for Ip­swich, and this could be only the start of great things to come.

Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion at al­laboutip­swich.com/ high­lights/corn­hill

RIGHT: Corn­hill re­de­vel­op­ment

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