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Ipswich: Are shoppers being lured away from the traditional town centre and heading east towards Futura Park, Ravenswood and Ransomes Retail park?

PUBLISHED: 23:41 18 April 2014 | UPDATED: 23:41 18 April 2014

The B & Q store at Ransomes could be split to create a new Morrisons store.

The B & Q store at Ransomes could be split to create a new Morrisons store.

That’s the question facing planning officials as they prepare a response to Morrisons application to develop a new food supermarket on the Ransomes retail park.

Morrison’s hopes to develop a new store in half of what is currently the B&Q store at the park. A total of 300 jobs would be created in the supermarket and B&Q would continue to trade from the rest of the site.

If that does go ahead, it would be the fourth supermarket in the area – Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Lidl at Ravenswood are within walking distance of the site.

And other stores, restaurants, cafes, and pubs in the area allow shoppers to buy most items they could need – apart from clothes.

The Morrison’s proposal is due to be discussed by the borough council’s planning and development committee in June.

The growth of the retail in the area has not gone unnoticed in the town centre where officials and businesses are faced with reinventing the historic centre.

Terry Baxter, chairman of Ipswich Central, said: “The development of the eastern side of the town has really accelerated over the last two or three years with the John Lewis/Waitrose site – but this is not something that is unique to Ipswich.

“We have to look at how the town centre can evolve with an emphasis on specialist independent shops, on leisure and other activities, and using our unique selling point – the Waterfront.”

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said the growth of the eastern retail centre had not come without a cost – people living nearby found that roads were often seriously congested.

Part of the reason for the development of eastern Ipswich was the number of new homes that have been built in the area, mainly just outside the borough at Warren Heath and Purdis Farm in Suffolk Coastal district.

These new homes have been sold to families, many with high disposable incomes, which are attractive to retailers.

The Sainsbury’s/Homebase site at Warren Heath is in Suffolk Coastal – and there is also a substantial retail park at Martlesham Heath.

Ipswich council’s portfolio holder for planning Carole Jones said there was a clear town centre-first policy for major new retail development.

The John Lewis/Waitrose application had been allowed because it allowed the former Crane engineering site to be decontaminated – the rest of the site is due to become a business park for offices and small factory units.

She said the closure of a number of national chains in the wake of the 2008 crash had had a significant effect on town centres – but Ipswich was not unique in this.

23 comments

  • The posh people of Ipswich? Ha ha ha! We do have some comedians on this site! But more seriously, why on earth would anyone want to shop in the well developed retail area on the eastern side of Ipswich, which now has a good selection of supemarkets & other stores & new restaurants, ALL with plenty of free parking; when they could waste lots of petrol & time & money driving through the traffic jams & the 96 sets of traffic lights to reach....the fabulous town centre, with its exorbitant parking charges? Answers on a postcard please....

    Report this comment

    The Main Man

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014

  • It's all very well having the posh people of Ipswich with their huge salaries and egos to match posting comments on here about all the rubbish shops, and how they want JOHN LEWIS, MARKS & SPENCER, WAITROSE and ACQUASCUTUM everywhere, and APPLE shops for their Iphones, but spare a thought for the poor people (who they step over on their way to the panto at the WOLSEY) who haven't even got a car, and can't afford to buy their booze and phones and stuff from posh shops like these!

    Report this comment

    bigger niche

    Monday, April 21, 2014

  • Come and do your weekly shop at Morrison's in Felixstowe for a week, and you'll see why this is a total waste of time, the other big supermarkets are far better on quality, choice, and price. Ipswich town centre is dying because of the business rates, the anti car policys, high parking charges, and the amount of street beggars and chugger scroungers

    Report this comment

    john

    Sunday, April 20, 2014

  • This has been happening across the country for years, yet the sleepy old Star only just realises it. My family and I don't shop in Ipswich now because they made it impossible to drive in and out of in the last year or so, the council seem obsessed with only one thing in the centre and that's the Waterfront, which when you look at it isn't that great and isn't much of an attraction. I hope more retailers open on out of town sites.

    Report this comment

    Esco Fiasco

    Sunday, April 20, 2014

  • I hope there are more retail units to be built on the John Lewis site. All we need now is an M&S clothing store and a larger electricalcomputer store then I will never have to visit Ipswich town centre ever again. I will then be able to get everything I need to survive topped up with a few visits a year to Norwich to buy luxury designer items unavailable in Ipswich.

    Report this comment

    Billy Knowbend

    Saturday, April 19, 2014

  • I used to shop in town a lot. I went the other day and each month it is depressing what is happening to what used to be a vibrant town. All emphasis on out of town looky likey all other town out of shopping centres. More talk about the Waterfront. We need some big names in town. It's getting depressing with cheap shops and the change in population, is making it more alien. It's dying because like other places it's all out of town, it's not rocket science.

    Report this comment

    waspie

    Saturday, April 19, 2014

  • Another piece of pointless but inflammatory reporting by the head troll. In what way is a supermarket going to take custom from a town centre? They are actually out of town so the car people can get to them without inconvenience buy more junk they don't need and load it all in their oil burners. Why would you want to add more traffic to the polluting hoards already clogging up our town centre?

    Report this comment

    IanW

    Saturday, April 19, 2014

  • Councils must take some share of the blame. Car parks were sold and parking charges everywhere are horrendous. The income the Council makes is greatly offset by the loss of trade. Councils need to realise they serve the people not just make money for themselves.

    Report this comment

    braiswick

    Saturday, April 19, 2014

  • Shoppers aren't being 'lured' away, they're being actively driven away from the town centre thanks to the brilliant idea of traffic management in the town coupled with the horrendous parking costs and lack of shops. It's not the first time this subject has been mentioned, why does no one seem to listen to what locals want from their town?

    Report this comment

    MZH

    Friday, April 18, 2014

  • having tried to drive along Bixley Rd, Felixstowe Rd and Ransomes Way today I can honestly say I'd rather drive into town. Traffic was crawling the whole way, at a standstill at times as hold ups caused by queues trying to get into Sainsburys then Ransomes Europark [B&Q etc], Nightmare!!

    Report this comment

    Irene Wragg

    Friday, April 18, 2014

  • Yes. Getting in and around town is a complete pain. I go round the outskirts to places rather than drive in and pay for parking.I would prefer to support town centre shops but it just isn't feasible. The traffic flow in Ipswich... erm... doesn't

    Report this comment

    Jan

    Friday, April 18, 2014

  • Out of town retail parks offer retailers larger, purpose-built premises, purpose-built access for delivery vehicles, and for customers there is usually plentiful,free parking. At present Ipswich town centre does not have much to offer. Ipswich Central-what is that organisation doing?? Pleasant thought the waterfront is, commercially speaking it is not much more than a few coffee bars and restaurants. I don't hold out much hope for the future of the town centre.

    Report this comment

    BigGeoff

    Friday, April 18, 2014

  • The only good thing about the Town Centre is the cinema is there, why is there two Superdrugs, two Boots and soon two Icelands in the Town? Baffling!

    Report this comment

    kev70

    Friday, April 18, 2014

  • A reminder to all:business rates are not set by the Council but by central Government, and town centre rents are not set by the Council but by property owners. And parking is now largely in the hands of private operators, though the Borough Council could decide to start a "price war" by slashing prices on their sites.

    Report this comment

    Baptist Trainfan

    Friday, April 18, 2014

  • That they even have to ask the question says everything you need to know about the calibre of the people running Ipswich!! Free car parking, bigger choice, better brands of shops, no hassle from charity scammers or waiting ages for busses that are late due to the god awful town centre traffic system. We must be mad not coming into Ipswich Town cntre to shop mustn't we?

    Report this comment

    england1770

    Friday, April 18, 2014

  • Yes. Its going ahead. The town needs the jobs. B&Q have long given the council the suggestion that it will withdraw from that area and focus on their main store. The compromise is a no brainer... a large empty retail unit or sharing it with a supermarket... No thought will be given of the town centre - relatively few independents in food retail anyhow - the council themselves are luring people away from the town centre to the waterfront. Its a shame they wont build the Northern Bypass so everyone could easily access and shop at the out of town retail areas without needing to suffer the Travel Ipswich issues when approaching the town centre.

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Friday, April 18, 2014

  • In other news, the Pope declares he is catholic...

    Report this comment

    Public Purson

    Friday, April 18, 2014

  • Exactly the same will happen with a northern fringe development. This will lead to new supermarkets that side of the town thereby taking more trade from the town centre. What is needed are shops IN town worth going out for.

    Report this comment

    Sarky Sage

    Friday, April 18, 2014

  • The Council are to answer for the state of the town centre. high rates to fund their pensions and airy fairy projects. Anti motorist, high parking charges .Fonnereau road deserted after parking metres installed. Surely they made more out of fines.

    Report this comment

    m01

    Friday, April 18, 2014

  • The town centre rates are too high, the shops are either empty or pound shopscharity shops. The rates need to be slashed! The market needs to be moved. This will bring more people and shops to the town therefore the loss in rate revenue will be made back by other means. IBC has zero vision for the longterm! We need changes in local government to turn this town around.

    Report this comment

    Rory Breaker

    Friday, April 18, 2014

  • Pulled away from town centre by out of town retail parks? No. Pushed away from Town Centre by the Council's Parking Policies more like.

    Report this comment

    julian_n

    Friday, April 18, 2014

  • how'd the town do

    Friday, April 18, 2014

  • In answer to the title - yes they are. Who wouldn't be tempted to drive from shop to shop and park for free wherever they want. Traffic isn't built up either it's an absolute pleasure. Town centre driving is stressful and very time consuming. It's an out and out win for retail parks - both customers and retailers are happy. Ipswich town centre is about the only place you have 20+ charity shops though so that's the ace up it's sleeve!

    Report this comment

    IpswichResident

    Friday, April 18, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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