New plans for Ipswich’s Cornhill unveiled April 2017

Plans for the regeneration of the hub of Ipswich’s town centre – the Cornhill – have now been revealed. Following a long consultation process, the views of the public and the experts have been taken into account and a new plan is on the table.
Plans to level the site have gone. In their place we’re promised an attractive water feature and four architectural columns to create a striking sculptural feature.
The project, which will cost approx £3million, is part of a wider initiative to kick-start the town’s economy. Completion of the Cornhill regeneration is planned for late 2018.
Ipswich’s Cornhill has been – at various times – the site of illustrious events, grisly killings and busy market days.
Previously home to a market cross and quite possibly an Anglo Saxon royal home, it’s been the site of livestock and corn markets, bull baiting and burning of martyrs. And it was where the town enthusiastically greeted its FA Cup winning football team back in 1978.
It’s overlooked by glorious civic and commercial architecture… the Town Hall, the old Post Office building, Lloyds Chambers and Grimwades, are gems of the Victorian era.
But these days, it just looks tired and unloved.
For sure, Ipswich has seen better days. Those of us who have lived and worked in Ipswich for decades have seen the town centre decline in recent years. Something’s gone badly wrong and change is long overdue.
Undoubtedly, the face of retailing is changing, thanks to internet shopping, recession and more. That was already happening when Sir Stuart Rose described the area as “depressing”. If anything the situation has become worse.
But some towns – and we only have to look 30 miles down the road to Bury St Edmunds to see it – have weathered that storm. Ipswich has not.
This announcement – and the exciting news that world-renowned architects are to design the Upper Orwell river crossings – suggest that something might be changing.
The bellwethers may well be two lovely buildings facing onto the Cornhill itself: the lovely old redbrick Grimwade building (on the corner of the Cornhill and Westgate Street) and the old Post Office building, which dates back to 1881. Both are in prime locations and crying out to be let on long leases.
Let’s hope that this exciting and bold new development is the catalyst for significant change.
We’ve talked about the need for change for quite long enough now.

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Vanessa Penn

About Vanessa Penn

Vanessa Penn was formerly Director of Commercial Agency for Countrywide Commercial, Bradford & Bingley and Douglas Duff part of Erinaceous Plc. Vanessa now runs her own agency Penn Commercial located in Ipswich, Suffolk www.penncommercial.co.uk. Penn Commercial boasts a number of local, regional and national clients and has formed an excellent and loyal client base.
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