Ipswich Cornhill: Public Consultation Written Responses

Although the council had approved of newer designs (as given the green light by Ipswich Vision) we continue publishing the Cornhill Redevelopment public consultation responses, to dispel the myth of residents being non-constructively negative for the sake of it. You will be able to notice residents offering constructive feedback and being labelled in a bad-light solely as they don’t agree with the town’s elite.

With the sudden unexpected departure of Ipswich Vision pioneer Ben Gummer, we hope these views will be considered prior to the project going ahead or utilise to create a better united Ipswich.

During the public consultations for the original designs of the Cornhill, the council received 93 written responses (handwritten, typed letters and emails) these are as follows. Like with all these Government statistics they don’t always add up to the total number – we are publishing “as is” as contained within the FOI request.

Do you agree that the Cornhill needs improvement to boost the town centre?

47 residents responded with Yes.

32 responded with No

13 without response.

Do you approve of plans to make access easier to the Town Hall?

12 didn’t respond; 34 said Yes and 46 said No. Comments as follows:-

The doors are big enough for those who choose to go in

Because no one goes into the town hall

The addition of a plinth detracts from the steps

Not as drawn

The Corn Hill has a natural gentle slope (no steps please) which goes to the water front with an assortment of old buildings and small shops as we use to be at one time this should remain.

The designs are just daft! You are covering over one set of steps and introducing far more steps – how does that make any sense at all?

In my opinion we do not need that ‘ugly grey’ raised surface – amongst our lovely old buildings – with all those stupid steps, serving no purpose ( except of course to provide more space for layabouts to get in the way of shoppers footsteps!!!) all that just to make access to OUR Town Hall, and with the actual ease of access being so far away from the Cornhill.

The aim of the Cornhill project is stated to be ‘to inject new life and business into the heart o the town’, but no evidence is presented to explain how the revised proposals will contribute to achieving this laudable aim. Improved access to the Town Hall could be achieved more cheaply, and without such a drastic reduction in the flexibility and useability of the square.

What uses or activities would you like to see occur on the Cornhill?

Comments as follows:-

A suitable sculpture, centrally placed? Elegant handrails on the Town Hall steps leading to the 1st floor?

I would like the market to stay on Cornhill.. It brings in a lot of people. I wouldn’t come into Ipswich so much if the market isn’t on the Cornhill.

I would like to see the market where it is. You get a lot of money off all the stall holders. Use the money to fill the shops.

A larger market, not split up. Large meeting areas (i.e football celebrations or when Town Hall balcony is needed)

A bigger market, charities fairs, outdoor concerts or dance events which would need all the presently available space.

Creating level access to the town hall is too big a price to pay. The cornhill is small already for a town of this size. The proposals will chop it into sections of different levels. The creation of so many steps makes a serious hazard for children and old people.

Market, meetings occassionaly as carol singing.

The market

Market must be kept, craft fair

The market

Market to be kept at all costs, an asset to Ipswich town centre.

Films playing on the cornhill non-market days. Lots of free seating with tables. I have recently been to New York where there is lots of public seating.

Continuation of the present market

Music in the square & keep the market

Music and performances

Choirs, Promotions, parades, limited market stalls


Continuation of market

Live theatre, music, dance

Outside dining areas, fountain as a focal point


The market

Music / seating

As it is at present

Dancing / the market


Put £3.2 m towards a new square linking cornhill to waterfront.

Market / speaker’s corner

Performance, dance, plays

More market stalls, and also nice seating areas, music

Similar activities occuring now


It was made for a market, it would be good to keep it.

Market needs to go somewhere else

More seating, more outside eating

Outdoor screens for sporting events, music, place to meet friends

Public art


Dance, music, art, drama

Market, outdoor café seating, space for special events

Existing market to continue


Concerts, drama, more café seating

Music and drama, informal eating and drinking areas

Keep part of market, musical events

Uplighters to light the town hall in different colours, keep a few market stalls to one side

Markets, open-air concerts, impromptu musical performances

Same as happens now

Market to stay where it is

The market, some entertainment

Market stalls – essential


Large space for crods to gather, Christmas, celebrations etc.

Alfresco restaurants, concrete seats

Eating and drinking outside

Market, café, seating

Market to stay in the Cornhill

Market, entertainment, cafe

Would you like to see a water feature on the Cornhill?

55 responded No, 22 responded Yes and 15 gave no response. Comments as follows:-

Too intrusive in a limited space

As long as we have enough water to clean the surface daily it is alright by me.

Its not a ‘seaside’ town

Fountains are for seaside towns

Waste of money


Like Terminal 5 at Heathrow

Something similar to the feature in Bordeaux, intermittent mist – great fun for children

Small water feature

Only if it does not restrict market space

It would have been lovely, but that should have been in Queens Square

What do you like most about the latest designs?

Nothing – it is completely out of keeping with its present space and building

I don’t really like any of them, and I havn’t got a computer to have another look.


I don’t

The area needs a revamp, but to move the market would be mad


Nothing but practical, disabled bad design.

It looks cleaner

View 3


More seating areas

Nothing in particular

The level area

Visually exciting and modern

I like that there is an effort being made to improve Ipswich

Making a flat surface

Water feature and the trees

Dislike the steps, the fountain and also would like to keep the market where it is.

Water feature and seating areas

The level approach to the town hall

Water feature

Easier access to cornhill buildings for disabled people

The additional accessibility, trees

View 4

Like the idea of water feature and tower, and the fact the plinth could be dual purpose.

Creating a attractive shared space to appeal to people day and night

It all looks rather grand!

View 1

Improves the heart of the town. I like the lower tower with arches

Retains character of Cornhill

Feeling of open space

Re-paving in a lighter colour

Level space

This design does not enhance the setting of the listed buildings.

What do you like least about the latest designs?

Everything – see above

As above

It is all a waste of money

Give a false impression, where are the steps which will be a danger to old people and mothers with children? Proper seats, not silly concrete blocks, no use for elderly and disabled people.

I think that the ramp up to the town hall is unnecessary. It does not fit into the beautiful Victorian Buildings surrounding it. It is a useless expens. The tower is modern and ugly.

There’s no market

Steps, water jets

Large towers that don’t do anything

No improvement to the current area

The tower, which does nothing for improvement to the areanor will a water feature

Too many steps

Will date very easily

The fountain and steps

Extra steps, water feature

Market shouldn’t be on the cornhill

Water feature

No space for a market

The steps, dangerous, could fall off

Market stalls

Unsure about so many steps

Water feature, steps too narrow, gradient too steep

The tower

The steps

The inclusion of the market

The tower, too many steps running throughout

The smooth stone for the ramps

The tower and the fountain. I don’t like the steps

Additional steps

Mannings will be very hidden, town hall will not look as impressive

Too many new steps

The pillar / tower

View 3 / 4

Water feature, it will get messy

The tower!

Destroy sight-lines to a collection of very important listed buildings. This square in unique in size and scale.

Steps are a hazard

Space left for market is too restrictive

I am opposed to all the designs which involve significantly or raised areas accessed by steps.

Do you prefer the scheme with a tower?

75 said No, 7 said Yes and 3 gave no response. Comments as follows:-

Why not link any feature to Cornhill’s historical past

Tower should be a lot smaller and thinner, like a spire

Tower has no use – only decorative

Tower could provide some form of lighting façade

Make a sculpture

How about Trafalgar Sq plinths? Hosting different artwork

Bring back the lone soldier

A slender steel tower would be preferable, lighting on the tower would be attractive

What do we need a tower for???? OUR Town Hall building and the others are enough to give ‘visual depth’. WE DO NOT NEED A TOWER for goodness sake!

The rationale for the introduction of a tower is very weak. The introduction of more trees into the square, possibly in mobile planters, would improve the ambience of the square. Any new feature that is introduced needs to blend with the varied facades of the surrounding buildings, which the proposed designs for a tower do not.

Do you have any other comments?

There is nothing to be recommended – the tower is rediculous – water features are for parks and playgrounds – PLEASE – leave our Cornhill as it is, with possible an improvement in paving.

I can’t see you need to waste all this money putting some more seats about the town, hanging baskets, flower tas and toilets that you don’t have to go up stairs, and thetoilet at the cattle market.

The tower looks like your Christmas tree. The water feature will not bring in much money

What are the plans for traffic crossing the Cornhill, especially emergency vehicles, delivery and cleaning service?

I would propose the tower, water feature and ramp to the town hall are scrappe. A good feature for the Cornhill would be restoration of the 18th C market cross.

Better the money spent on restoring Brook Hill Pool

Please do not tear the heart of the town out. The market is the focal point

The market draws people into the town centre. And moving it will not be good for the town as it brings in customers.

It will be something for all the the dossers to meet and sit all day.

As a town centre manager, we are busy on market days. So please don’t make it smaller

Increasing the number of steps will result in more accidents

Market should not be reduced

Money could be utilised in upper orwell street or providing a link to waterfront

Could look awful

Money could be spent on improving Back Hamlet, Westgate St, Tavern Street etc.

Steps for children and the elderly are so dangerous

Leave Cornhill alone. Reduce business rates for shops or repair the roads. Better shops.

Please make access to Town Hall easier

Covered eating outside when weather is poor

Look at Bordeux water feature

Where would the Christmas tree go?

More trees, no water feature, quality seating

It seems unnecessary to level the cornhill, it would destroy its character. Adding steps would be a hazard to old people.

Keep it simpl, easy to maintain.

Wheelchair users would have to go right around the structure

Just need a major uphaul in the town in general

Don’t like the tower feature at all

Tower does not fit in with it’s surroundings at all and has no use.

As a lifelong member of Ipswich I see no point in spending such a considerable sum of money

Safety of steps may be a problem

The cornhill is a beautiful space, it would be nice to have it levelled for a performance space.

This is an unnecessary exercise and a waste of money

Please no tower, no steps within the town hall forecourt.

Keep the market, more trees, enhance the buildings with more lighting.

Tower is not in keeping with the other buildings in the area – the area needs to be an open area where people can gather and use the space, not for a statue.

It would be good to have a central focal spot in the centre.

I would like the fountain to remain, I see no need for a fountain.

Access and steps will prove restrictive

The cornhill surface needs to be refreshed and the town hall made less steep.

The Corn Hill repaving to match up with Queen St paving to make it a much lighter and bright place. Could we now have some flower s like there use to be outside Crown Pool s so people passing through would think what a nice place this is .The Corn Hill repaving to match up with Queen St paving to make it a much lighter and bright place. Could we now have some flower s like there use to be outside Crown Pool s so people passing through would think what a nice place this is .The Corn Hill repaving to match up with Queen St paving to make it a much lighter and bright place. Could we now have some flower s like there use to be outside Crown Pool s so people passing through would think what a nice place this is .

The work will take many months bringing further disruption and loss of business to the town.

The Council could deep clean the Cornhill paving on a regular basis at a fraction of the cost.

The market will be disbanded during the lengthy construction of this plinth and may well not return in its current healthy state resulting in further loss of business. Parking/signage of parking/NCP rip offs/NCP lack of maintainance/lighting come far higher in people’s priorities.

The scheme will definitely not achieve what you hope for it and that is the truth – you will be left with a £3 million white elephant, and a far less flexible space.

I write on the subject of the Cornhill in Ipswich and its proposed regeneration, mainly because of the deficiencies of the online and printed consultation document. I am sure that others will write at some length in justification of their views, so I will keep this letter as brief as possible.I believe that the initial motivation behind the project was flawed. The thought seemed to be that the empty, or soon-to-be empty buildings around this most historic place would be occupied by commercial firms by building a raised surface across the Cornhill to cover the steps up to our Town Hall (which, incidentally, already has disabled access via the Prices Street entrance). I would agree that public money spent on the Cornhill in any way would, one hopes, increase the chances that members of the public would be attracted to the space, therefore – in the thinking of the Ipswich Vision group – be willing to spend money, thus attracting businesses here. However, covering the Town Hall steps, adding long series of new steps at south-east and north-west and shrinking the usable area of the public space seems to me to be misconceived. I feel some sympathy for the architects who were given this single, initial brief which seems to be the major sticking-point here. Nobody in their right mind would oppose the spending of serious money on the town centre’s major, if somewhat small, public space.By all means use the money to improve the Cornhill, but not to destroy this useful, flexible, public space. Clearly, since 1983 when the repaving of ‘Red Square’ took place, people have got used to a rather good solution to the problem – an improvement on the the roads, bus shelters and other obstructions which stood here before. The block-paving has provided a long-needed home for the open market stalls four four days a week, when the Cornhill is a very busy place. It has also means that public events, celebrations, processions, music, Christmas trees and much more can take place here. When the market isn’t operating the public will still walk and cycle through the Westgate/Tavern Street thoroughfare and across the Cornhill. Repaving to a high standard, providing lockable power-points, seating, perhaps some trees or even some dancing fountains (though there isn’t enough room in my view) on the gentle slope of the Cornhill as it is today would preserve this precious space for all sorts of activities. A platform divides the precious usable space and acts as a barrier, particularly for the disabled on crutches and buggies and other wheeled conveyances such as prams and pushchairs.If we want an identifiable focus for the townspeople, why not follow the late John Blatchly’s excellent suggestion of rebuilding our wonderful Market Cross in the centre of the Cornhill in front of the Town Hall? A sheltered seated area with a striking statue of Justice above, as shown in a number of contemporary drawings and paintings (see the 1790 example attached) would do the trick. There are parts of the Market Cross in storage at the Ipswich Museum, I believe, so the recreation wouldn’t be too difficult. A grand reflection of the history of the Cornhill and much better than a tubular tower, I would think. I hope that this contribution is useful and not too negative. This is a huge opportunity for the town and I am all in favour that the money is spent wisely for the long-term benefit of the populace.

The idea of a ‘cafe culture’ is not something that can be imposed.  Ipswich is a fine market town and if and when people want continental type environment it will no doubt evolve as one or two small private cafes have proved.

It is a historic site and changing the level, introducing steps,a tower, and a fountain takes away the original intended appearance by the Victorians.

they (the plans) are completely out of keeping with the present buildings which are of historic interest and to spend such an amount of money is folly.     All that needs doing is possibly to restore some of the paving.

there will be far less space for the Cornhill to be a focus for events; the additional steps within the square will make ordinary transversing less ordinary!

Please leave the Cornhill alone – if there is money available to spend I can see very much better uses – Upper Orwell Street, finish the Waterfront, perhaps

If easier access to the Town Hall involves ruining the space with steps and making the Town Hall look badly proportioned then it is NOT a good idea

To alter the only decent sized, flattish space in the centre of the town would be detrimental for many uses and users, including ceremonial occasions.

The visual aspect of the west side of the “square” will change for the worse.

I’m not sure what the customers of  Mannings and Mizu would think as they gaze at people’s feet.

in order to provide level access to the Town Hall not only creates a hazard to pedestrians and decreases the size of our central open space, but also diminishes our splendid Town Hall.

there would not be enough of the suggested stalls to cover the existing one.

The new proposals are all bleak and colourless, they offer no enticement, no feeling of ambience in a lovely square

The changes will deny Ipswich a versatile central venue for the wide range of activities it currently supplies.

why not consider re-opening the small entrance to the side, in Princes Street and using the lift which used to be in there? The cost of refurbishing this would still be less that the cost of this unfortunate scheme.

The idea that Ipswich needs more ‘Cafe culture’ is risible and the proposed communal seating inadequate and uncomfortable.

I suggest that there are many much more important things for the Town that need doing which would actually benefit the residents and visitors alike.

Side sloping access to both sides of the existing steps of the Town Hall to enable Wheelchairs etc into the building.

Two or three more trees, to enhance the area. PLEASE do not remove those that already exist.

The modern concrete blocks ( both circular and oblong)  providing social seating. (as far as I know these are ‘indestructible!’)

We strongly support the purpose of the Ipswich Vision, but it is essential that it achieves improvement and not simply changes. We realise that enhancement of Cornhill is challenging, but it important to make sure that any changes are improvements, and not simply a reaction to a passing opinion. Time spent ensuring that the plan is right is not time wasted.

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