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Card store to sit by Pret in former Grimwades on Ipswich town centre

PUBLISHED: 16:49 02 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:49 02 January 2018

The former Grimwades store is set to be the new home of Pret A Manger. Picture: PAUL GEATER

The former Grimwades store is set to be the new home of Pret A Manger. Picture: PAUL GEATER

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Pret A Manger is set to be joined by another card shop in the former Grimwades store in the heart of Ipswich.

Cards Direct has been given planning permission to put up its shop sign on a new unit that will be created in the former department store.

It will occupy about half the ground floor of the former department store with its entrance on to Westgate Street, opposite Debenhams.

The other half of the ground floor will be occupied by Pret which will also convert the first floor of the store into an area where customers can eat the sandwiches and salads they have eaten below.

Pret’s full application to convert the unit which will front on to the Cornhill is set to be discussed by Ipswich Council’s planning and development committee on Wednesday.

It is not expected to face any objections from councillors who have already welcomed the proposal – and council planning officers are recommending that it is approved.

The report says: “The proposed use would significantly improve the vitality and viability of this specific frontage and town centre area more generally, and provide an active frontage to this important town centre site.”

The takeaway should create 17 full-time and seven part-time jobs and be open from 7am to 7pm on weekdays, from 8am on Saturdays and from 9am to 5pm Sundays.

Pret will have room for 140 customers to eat inside – 84 on the first floor and 56 in the ground floor area. However once the Cornhill has been redeveloped at the end of the year it is expected that on fine days many of its customers will want to eat outside.

Cards Direct, which has 23 stores across England, does not need planning permission to open in the new unit.

The building has outstanding planning permission to operate as a shop – and it was occupied by Clinton Cards for about 15 years from the mid-1990s.

However Cards Direct did need to apply for planning permission to install a new shop sign – and this was granted without the need for it to go to the committee.

The company has been growing fast over recent years with stores from Northampton and Kings Lynn to Hastings and Brighton on the south coast.

Work to create the new units is expected to start as soon as all the planning details are agreed.

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