This issue of the Newsletter is particularly well-timed as its preparation has coincided with a major - but very brief - public display and consultation regarding the proposed works on the Cornhill. Looking at the visualisations on the Ipswich Borough Council website isn't very helpful to those who wish to grasp the detail and concept behind the five designs.
Further, the response prompted is 'Which one do you prefer?' with no alternative option for those being consulted. Eye-watering amounts of money have been mentioned in connection with the current Cornhill project. I wonder how many Ipswich residents who really care about their town would opt for repair and refurbishment of the existing red block-paving. Its introduction twenty-five years ago (and not without considerable cost and controversy) marked the establishment of this most precious public open space in the town as a focal point and - after many itinerant years - as a home for the market.
Looking at archive images of the Cornhill on our Flickr website (see the article on page 10), reminds us of the clutter of bus shelters, barriers, kerbs and traffic thoroughfares which once covered the space. Many would say that a market occupying the Cornhill on four days of the week brings a buzz to the town centre and attracts shoppers and browsers. Of course, there is always room for improvement in the range of stalls and quality of wares on offer, but that is a separate argument.
Shunting the market into side streets and installing a water feature, new paving and more pavement coffee shops on the Cornhill may get some support; it may get much opposition. It will probably go ahead. As ever, huge thanks to the contributors to this issue.
Hugh Moffat, author of East Anglia's First Railways and other works sadly died on Friday 20 September at the age of 87. His photograph collection is on its way to Suffolk Record Office.