I read with interest Ipswich Borough Council's plan for an architectural competition to revamp the Cornhill following Stuart Rose's criticism at the Beacon Town conference last September. Clearly money is available, architectural competitions aren't cheap to run and there is no point unless the organiser intends to spend something on building the results.
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).
One of the proved ways of getting footfall back into town centres is to increase the number of residents, achieved by building and adapting more residential units. Let's run an architectural competition to turn the Mint Quarter into a mixed use scheme, a competition to demonstrate to building owners that County Hall or St Peter's Port could work as residential schemes rather than the retail dream that is unlikely to ever be realised.