Ipswich Cornhill: Public Consultation Common Responses

Following a FOI request to obtain the Public Consultation comments, this page highlights what Ipswich Borough Council sees as common themes of the responses, most requested activities and their 5 favourite quotes (personally we do not see why or how anyone would compile 5 responses from over 1800!)

This is from the initial designs the public rejected and isn’t the new design the borough approved of.

Common Themes

1. Increase the provision of parking and lower its cost
2. Improve retail in Cornhill
3. Improve access by road, improve road conditions
4. Improve access to WCs on the Cornhill
5. Community based activities to occur on Cornhill
6. Encourage street perfomers to use the Cornhill
7. The area should be able to compete with neighbouring town Bury St Edmunds and Norwich
8. Preference for smaller ramp locally close to the town hall
9. Celebrate history of the Cornhill

So Ipswich Vision said to the people of Ipswich we need ¬£3m and this design to improve the town centre and attract new shops. Based upon the above “common themes” chosen by the council – we don’t have the patience to go through 1800+ responses to confirm if this is representative¬†– pretty much none of these themes are reflected in the new design.

Ipswich people consider their town centre decline to revolve around not enough parking – either free or affordable/cheaper – and this would be reflected by the lack of desire for the borough council to rebuild the Crown Car Park multi-storey. Work is underway for the final rebuild which will give a much smaller capacity than the original. So a decrease in parking spaces overall.. but at least they are finally taking responsibility to provide some spaces back.

Not surprising that number 2 and number 3 is directly the lack of shops or “decent shops” and the poor infrastructure (especially after Travel Ipswich). No mention of public transport in the theme.

Toilets would be appreciated by members of the public but they will have to go to Sailmakers or Buttermarket Centre as the borough council is disinterested in providing public conveniences. The new Cornhill is likely to become a toilet and target for graffiti but by no means an official WC.

Ipswich Ltd has been constantly trying to persuade the borough to allow entertainment to take to the Cornhill when a) the market is not on and b) when the Town Hall forecourt isn’t being hired. We were both taken back by and heart-warmed by how many people were suggesting exactly the same thing but likewise disappointed the council is refusing to listen to people and is going to implement a design which pretty much doesn’t allow this to happen in future. All vibrant town centres have street entertainment – however, in Ipswich they aren’t allowed on the Cornhill, either Giles Circus or further up the town.

Ipswich residents are frustrated by losing out to other regional centres including county rival Bury St Edmunds. This should be a joke but once powerful Ipswich is way behind in terms of retail than Bury St Edmunds. Ipswich borough has a population of 133,000 (a catchment of approx 150,000), whereas Bury St Edmunds has a population of just 42,000. It most certainly is a nice and charming town but by no means should we be behind.

Some people wanted a ramp to the Town Hall but one which doesn’t go across to near Lloyds Avenue. The existing steps will be kept and disabled persons who are less mobile will have to use the side entrance.

The history of the Cornhill is important to the people – in particular protecting the historical appearance of the immediate area. The new design sticks two-fingers up to this and views will be blocked with the four grey concrete columns.

A remark we will add is, as part of the consultation exercise they didn’t consult with non-residents such as would-be day visitors or tourists. It is important to realise the primary importance is what locals needs and wants are, however, it wouldn’t have been a bad idea to see whether or not those who had a choice of potentially visiting Ipswich would decide not to based on the new design or whether it would attract them to the area.

Trending Cornhill Activities

These are frequently occurring activities specified in the Cornhill Consultation responses – not sure why the council called them “trending”. New buzz word for them perhaps?

1. Outdoor cinema
2. Concerts
3. Childrens’ activities
4. Open air theatre
5. Exhibitions

There isn’t much chance for activities occurring on the new Cornhill. Do we classify kids jumping into puddles and running through the water jets as an children activity?

Selected quotes

Ignoring what everyone has said and compiling them down to a handful of quotes to make it easier on officers and councillors alike…

  • They are creating a communal space that should be enjoyable to spend time in – Ipswich town centre doesn’t have anywhere like it at present
  • great to see some innovative design and some ambition to make Cornhill a focal point for the town, this is an attractive design for a much underused space with lots of potential
  • the footfall up the steps to the townhall is negligable compared to the flow of people in other directions
  • I think that a tower or water feature will not bring people to the town centre and is a waste of money. Filling the empty shops and making the town cleaner should be more of a priority
  • The proposals give access to a very limited number of rooms in the building which have, currently, limited use. What improved use of these rooms is proposed?


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