Suffolk

Ipswich Cornhill reopens as part of £3.6m revamp

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Media captionIpswich's Cornhill was once labelled a "bit shabby" by ex Marks & Spencer boss Lord Rose

A town centre square, once described as "a bit shabby" has reopened after a £3.6m revamp.

The new-look Cornhill in Ipswich features fresh paving, a water feature, new benches and ornamental trees.

Work on the project started in January and has been finished, except for a few finishing touches, in time for this month's Christmas lights switch-on.

Ipswich Vision, a partnership project for the town, said it had the "wow factor".

Terry Hunt, chairman of the group, said: "Suffolk's county town now has a real 'wow factor' for shoppers, visitors and residents alike.

"The new Cornhill is something we can all be proud of and I am confident it will be a real boost to businesses."

Image caption Fountains have been added to the new-look Cornhill
Image caption Ipswich Borough Council hopes to have events on the Cornhill during December
Image caption Four stone columns are still to be added to the Cornhill, inside the hoardings on the left

Former Marks & Spencer boss Lord Stuart Rose had previously criticised the main town centre square.

In 2012, he said the Cornhill had become "a bit shabby" and it should become a "natural congregation point for events and music".

Developers will return at some point to install four "stone gateways".

Ipswich Borough Council said a real Christmas tree will be added to the Cornhill in time for the lights switch on, on 22 November.

Image copyright Ipswich Borough Council
Image caption The "stone gateways" are including in the bottom right of this artist's impression
Image caption The lit-up fountains had been on display earlier in the week

Roxanne Williams, from Ipswich, said the renovated Cornhill was "no way" value for money.

She said there was a lack of seating and they had "spent a long time doing time doing it", but it was "disappointing".

Ernest Goddard, also from the town, said it was "quite attractive" and was "going to add a lot to the town centre", while Ross Tricker, from Ipswich, said it was a "big improvement on the dated and damaged Cornhill".

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