Ipswich Society to meet to discuss Cornhill Redevelopment

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  • #3843 Score: 0
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    Ipswi
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    Ipswich Society members are to meet to discuss the Cornhill Redevelopment situation the day after the 8-week target date of the planning application.

    CORNHILL REDEVELOPMENT DISCUSSION MEETING FOR MEMBERS
    Wednesday 10th May – 7.30pm – Museum Street Methodist Church
    The new proposals for the Cornhill, with their impact right at the core of our town and involving a large sum of public money, are of great importance to us all. They are soon to be considered by the IBC Planning Committee and our Chairman John Norman feels they are worthy of further debate prior to this. At our AGM on Wednesday April 26th he called for an Ipswich Society meeting for such a purpose on Wednesday May 10th. The venue has been arranged at the Museum Street Methodist Church, timed for 7.30 pm and you are most welcome to attend and contribute your ideas. Meanwhile we will endeavour to update you all with more information on the meeting nearer to the time.

    The Cornhill Redevelopment has been a disaster from day one. John Norman sums it up well in the April 2013 Ipswich Society newsletter. I couldn’t agree more.

    But why the Cornhill? If there is money available to spend and we look around the town centre, which locations cry out for investment? Sorry, but the Cornhill is not top of my list. Upper Orwell Street, Tacket Street with Brand’s former department store (photo below) looking forlorn, or a scheme to improve walking routes to the Waterfront (and I don’t mean turning the town around into a north-south shopping experience as proposed by Ipswich Central).

    The only reason why the scheme was dreamt up of in the first place was the Beacon conference in 2012, when ex-M&S boss Sir Stewart Rose shocked officials by speaking his mind rather than flattery pretending all is okay. Stewart under-estimated the cost of such a project but the Ipswich Vision group went to extremes trying to create a significant project, resulting in the typical large consultancy fees… such a Cornhill could be improved on the cheap without the council needing a consultant or architect! £250,000 absolute maximum. Like all things British, the more expensive a project can be the better, right? Well not exactly. We have been complaining to the council over the years asking them to arrange entertainment on the Cornhill for the days the market isn’t there and no forecourt booking taking place. This could be dance troupes, singers, musicians and the like. Perhaps for a couple of hours a week. Ipswich Central did similar one-off for the school summer holidays. IP-Art has been rebranded by IBC as Ipswich Entertains… well, sort of. Poor effort.

    Just a year before the conference, Ipswich residents were complaining to MP Ben Gummer about how shabby and run down the town is… with some referring to words and phrases such as “cesspit” and “hell hole”. To be fair on Gummer, despite what he says, he isn’t Ipswich born-and-bred so came here with little knowledge of the area, of course he has been here before a few times in the car with his dad… he never saw the deterioration of the town – lost industry and failing retail centre – on a week by week, month by month and yearly basis. Comparing Ipswich (now and at the time) it isn’t going to be the worse place in Britain… Ben saw that and doesn’t understand why people are so negative complaining about Ipswich not being perfect. People are complaining about Ipswich declining. Apart from the infamous British self-deprecating humour (and you need a sense of humour living here) many residents are aware there are worse places to live both in the UK and the world, which isn’t a problem for a short visit but they actually have some aspirations of improving, where they live. This is near impossible with the current local government structure.

    The politicians were hurt. Their pride, someone they highly respected offended their territory criticising their inability to do their jobs. A complete knee-jerk reaction later, some idiot decided an £3m multi-agency budget should cover it and put the criticism to bed. The truth of the matter is very few people locally and nationally would have heard about or picked up on the conference findings. They didn’t need to take action at all and specifically not in the way they did. The project isn’t needed but they decided lip-service… big public consultation, non-stop articles in the local newspaper, boost the confidence… get new shops in the town. Expecting the majority (even with a small margin of one representation) to be in favour of the redevelopment with the promise of new shops being attracted by it. Continuing local government’s (including our parliamentary representative) disrespect and hatred of the taxpayers and voters in the town… they had to fix the result as the public consultation backfired. Ipswich Vision (3 of 7 members are publicly elected and no one voted for such an entity to take control of the town) decided to then decide the design without another public consultation. I wrote to David Ellesmere…

    I am disappointed to hear the Ipswich Vision Group – which no-one voted for it to be setup – with only 3 of 7 members being electable have agreed the design on behalf of the people and done so before they even got to see the designs.

    I recommend you to reconsider a public consultation so the public can directly approve or disapprove of the designs.

    Ipswich Vision partners were smug about their decision of selecting the design.  Ipswich residents weren’t happy about the chosen design or the cost for that matter. Unfortunately a public consultation is favoured by people. Very few people want their address published with a letter they know most likely won’t be read let alone be taken into consideration. Very bad for democracy. I personally got the warm fuzzy feeling to hear and see people reacting in such a way. There was absolutely no money to invest in the town centre for decades, yet a big pot of money is available for a vanity project. Residents are down to earth and not shackled by politically assigned budgets… so it was very sweet of the people who argued the £3m could be better spent on the NHS, to fund libraries or for care services. It never ends to amaze the people why there is always new pots of money for pointless schemes (including Travel Ipswich if you will) but not for more vital services (in their opinion) which are getting cut back.

    Russell Williams, Chief Executive of Ipswich Borough Council, said: “We are keen for this important part of the Ipswich Vision to become a reality. This latest investment from the Local Enterprise Partnership will enable us to improve the town centre, attract more visitors and support our retailers and other businesses by making the Cornhill its iconic heart. This LEP commitment builds on those already made by Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Councils.

    “There will be plenty of public consultation before any work goes ahead. One critical issue to be discussed and resolved is of course the future of the market. We are committed to retaining a thriving market in the town centre.”

    Clearly not a man of his word and arguably not as good as his predecessor.

    The Cornhill Redevelopment project was initially intended through Sir Stewart Rose’s opinion of being a piazza, big emphasis on table and chairs al fresco dining (the non-Italian definition), some repaving, Keep it Simple Stupid! Ipswich Borough Council destroyed this by refusing A3 consent on the former Grimwades store… what were they thinking?!

    We have now submitted a Freedom of Information request to obtain the public’s comments on the Cornhill Redevelopment scheme.

    Elsewhere, Westgate Square (outside New Wolsey Theatre) is going to be another public square but with a restaurant or cafe. Rather ironic how a little utilised space other than a cut-through route for a few hundred people a day, could become an attraction from the central square which sees thousands of people a day. This won’t help Carr Street very much… big town centre anchor tenants are Debenhams (stone throw from Cornhill), Primark and M&S.. the latter two which are up the West part of the town. It is probable most won’t venture past the banks in Tavern Street any longer. When Woolworths and more recently BHS left the high street it has shifted the concentration of people further up to a short length of Westgate Street. Very poor town centre planning, they haven’t even followed their plans very well either.

    #3845 Score: 0
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    Mart
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    hadn’t seen an info on this meeting, where have the published details of it? I ask as an apparently ill informed Ips Soc member!

     

    very angry now, don't like inappropriate censorship,

    #3847 Score: 0
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    Dan
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    On their website… http://www.ipswichsociety.org.uk/events/forthcoming-events/

    They have linked to IPSWI which might explain the few new members (Planning Application Photos).

    It was announced at the AGM (or so the site says). Perhaps they won’t alert everyone else who didn’t go to the AGM – or perhaps an email nearer the time. Either way, I don’t see the point of looking at the application photos now as the representation stage has closed. I don’t really know what could happen if a majority of members attending the meeting decide that they don’t want it. I assume it will just be an exercise where David Ellesmere or Ben Gummer makes a statement to reassure people that it will be fine.

    The chairman (from previous newsletters) doesn’t appear convinced on the scheme but (unless it happened without being made public to non-members) didn’t take action at the planning stage. This is after 2000 previous comments weren’t in favour of the scheme.

    #3853 Score: 0
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    Mart
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    Thanks, perhaps it will pop up at some point on their quite active facebook page. The don’t have an active email list so far as I’m aware and I doubt manY regular visit the website, perhaps theY need to think about how theY communicate with members between newsletters on such matters.

    I wish theY were a bit more active in such issues, I’m sure in the past the societY was always prepared to stand up and be counted on such issues, doesn’t seem to be the case so much now.

     

    very angry now, don't like inappropriate censorship,

    #3855 Score: 0
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    Dan
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    I still feel that Ipswich Society is a considerable asset to the town. I was just a bit disappointed after preventing the Great White Horse Hotel from being demolished in the early days, they didn’t mind Starbucks expanding upstairs and the rest converted to offices (just so the developers can later convert to residential dwellings). Such a big loss to the town. Name-dropping a few famous people of the past makes the place more exciting. So the blue plaque will remain… but unless you get an flat (or in the meanwhile an office) it has lost the significance. Ancient House being used for a shop is another aspect of the council’s attitude which boggles the mind. No one really knows our history anymore, all people see is a nice modern half-finished leisure area.

    I am sure it is a similar case to the Ipswich Star… to get involved to open dialogue with government officials they lose that real independent streak and get dictated to. The newsletter is fab, some really valid opinions, but the lack of democratic action pisses me off. It has just over a thousand members (from information I can find, maybe not completely current) a good sample size for the size of Ipswich population.

    I just wish they believed in themselves more and I hope they can help the case with the Upper Orwell Crossings, Northern Fringe and Northern Bypass… if they can influence scrapping the Cornhill changes that would be brilliant but seems a foregone conclusion. Little point meeting to discuss it once the deadline for representations has past but perhaps they can still add something? They come under a consultant rather than public representations. Is this why they toned down I wonder?

    I wonder how many government officials are members of these organisations in the town. No doubt, many people never turn up for the AGM and discussion meetings… but the government officials do when it suits them. The current MP is a member of both the Ipswich Society and Ipswich Maritime Trust… I wonder what influence he has on other people? The IMT are in favour of the Upper Orwell Crossings which is surprising.

    #4056 Score: 1
    Profile photo of Mart
    Mart
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    Facebook

    The Ipswich Society
    Yesterday at 21:30 ·
    2017 CORNHILL REVAMP PROPOSALS
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The Ipswich Society Vice Chairman Tony Marsden is seen acting as “Mediator” at the Museum Street Methodist Church on Wednesday with a presentation by Chairman John Norman on the Cornhill proposals, followed by a discussion by Members and a summing up by Ipswich Society Planning Representative, Mike Cook.
    Nearly 100 members attended the discussion giving The Ipswich Society Committee a chance to gather members’ views on the proposed scheme to pass on to the planning department.

    Martin C
    so what was the Society’s verdict?
    Yesterday at 21:36

     
    The Ipswich Society
    A mix of views mainly on detail – Chairman, John Norman will be writing a report.

     

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    very angry now, don't like inappropriate censorship,

    #4061 Score: 0
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    Dan
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    Took them a while to even acknowledge the event had taken place!

    Quite a good turn out. I will be interested in the views given.

    As an External Consultee for the council they will report back to the council in due course. I feel a compromise (perhaps no pillars, or maybe just two…) rather than rejecting it outright.

    It prompted a further response for Cornhill Planning Application Comments

    I will be interested in whether they wait until after the General Election to decide this.

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