Ipswich: “Leave B&M on the edge of town” – top Tory’s parting shot at borough planners

B&M Homestore at Ransomes Europark,Ipswich. B&M Homestore at Ransomes Europark,Ipswich.

Thursday, May 22, 2014
11:59 AM

Attempts by Ipswich planners to stop discount store B&M from selling its full range from its store at Ransomes have come under fire from departing Tory councillor Judy Terry.

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The former borough executive member – and county council cabinet member – poured scorn on planners’ hopes of seeing B&M moving into the former Co-op department store in Carr Street.

She said: “That’s just what the town centre needs! We’ve got two Poundlands, a 99p Store, a Yippee it’s 99p Store, and QD.

“I’ve got nothing against them, but what Ipswich town centre needs is some really top names to attract shoppers from a wider area, something like a Zara.”

She did not think shoppers from places like Bury St Edmunds, Woodbridge and Framlingham would be enticed to Ipswich town centre by the prospect of another discount store.

“Anyway B&M mainly operates from retail parks like this and it’s very successful. I went to see the store at Ransomes after seeing it on the agenda and seeing the coverage in the Star.

“I was impressed by what it had to offer – and it’s got a lot of shoppers going there.”

Meanwhile speculation is rising that B&M is looking at the possibility of opening a third store on the edge of Ipswich, this time on the Bury Road retail park near Asda.

A spokesman for the company would not comment on reports it was looking at moving into the former Comet store at the site – but we understand that staff at its existing stores at Ransomes and Copdock believe a third site could be opening there.

The fast-growing discount chain this week formally withdrew its application to relax strict planning conditions on its store at Ransome’s Euro Retail park which are aimed at preventing it from selling non-bulky goods.

That could ultimately lead to the borough taking enforcement action against it because much of its stock – which ranges from bars of chocolate to garden benches – is considered non-bulky.

It is thought that B&M may be waiting until later in the summer to consider its next move.

Supermarket giant Morrisons has applied to convert half of the B&Q store at the other end of the retail park into a superstore.

If that is given the go-ahead B&M could argue that they should be allowed to trade on the same basis as Morrisons.

Ipswich Central chairman Terry Baxter said Mrs Terry was entitled to her views, but he did not agree with her about the town centre.

He said: “There is a wide diversity of shops in the town centre and an increasing number of high-quality independents.

“There is room for all types of shops and it is right that they should be encouraged in the town centre.”

10 comments

  • I think we have to recognise that the train has departed as far as retaining large town centre stores in Ipswich. Norwich had the luck or foresight to build it shopping malls close to the City Centre so that they form a coherent whole with the centre. In ipswich the town centre shopping area is now too large.

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    2warnes

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • waspie's wife..It's not rocket science is it? How to run a town down. Draw customers out of town with nice new places, where you can park free. Then even the stores in town will suffer a bit and it will go downhill with more and more cheap shops, charity shops and betting shops.

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    waspie

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • Its increasingly hard to actually find a reason to go in to the town centre- I'm pretty sure that only Debenhams, Primark and M&S keep it alive at all. Ive found recently that its often not possible to actually buy what you need in the town centre any more: recent examples of things I wasn't able to get being: A plastic bread bin, a nitting bag and an old fashioned photo album, that uses those sticky corners and door numbers.

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    Sentinel Red

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • When will the councilors come to terms will the state that is ipswich town centre. When ever I go and its not very often, it's depressing charity shops, bookies, or pound shops.. its horrible. They celibrated gettind another poundland and iceland in tower raparts when we have both less than half a mile away. I dont know what ipswich central do but they should be out there looking for different shops to bring to the town not pushing the council to close down a thriving store.

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    dazzac84

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • Its politics... Ipswich Central is funded by a levy... so they need to keep levy payers sweet by saying how great everything is to justify their large income. Basically Ipswich Borough Council was sick of dealing with the town centre (and surrounding areas) so delegated responsibility to this arm reach organisation which then became responsible for keeping the town tidy and pretty... rather than the local authority! ***** The ironic part is, these levy payers are funding the Waterfront promotions which is in direct competition to where most are based... (in the town centre!) If they did remove those ugly derelict waterfront buildings by developing them into retail units and if Ipswich Central succeeded in promoting the waterfront area to tourists and catchment area shoppers... no one is heading back to the traditional town centre....

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    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • Ipswich central directors would say our town has a wide diversity of shops, that,s what they get paid for, but clearly they do not go into Ipswich i can only see bookies, pound shops, charity, and even new cheap clothes shops.

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    richard procter

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • Stop putting the decent large stores in out of town retail parks, so the edges of towns all look the same!!! Ipswich needs stores like the large next, large John Lewis, a larger M&S. Shops like Zara and Mango and some individual shops in buildings that have character, with covered arcade, not the white elephant Buttermarket and Tower Ramparts that have never been to capacity. A mix with, some farm shop butchers, fresh fish, fruit and veg.Cheaper car parks and proper special rates on buses, not a measly £1 into town after 3, paying normal; fare back.

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    waspie

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • Clearly the powers that be have not got a clue on how to revitalise the town centre and presumably by trying to force retailers into the town they can say that 'x percent of all units are occupied, aren't we clever'. It annoys me that they continue to fail the retailers of Ipswich, the people of Ipswich and the local economy. Surely they cannot force any retailer to do anything other than abide by any planningoperating conditions and if these have been violated they will have close B&M down and lose another retailer or change the operating conditions.I guess they still collect their salaries in full every month so why can't they tell us just exactly what it is they do every day to halt this slide into total obscurity that is happening in the town centre.Why not swallow their pride, or arrogance, and get in their cars and visit Bury St Edmunds or Norwich, see what's going on, ask their equivalents how they are achieving such success when Ipswich is failing so miserably in attracting big retailers and overall becoming something to be avoided rather than something that is a pleasant shopping experience.

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    how'd the town do

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • And there lies the basis of the problem! Ipswich Central chair says there is a wide diversity of shops in the town centre! Until they accept that out town centre is not an exciting place to visit due to there being very few worthwhile shops to visit we will not get anywhere. Listen to the people please, they keep telling you that the town is a mess but you still keep your blinkers on. Leave those shops alone that are doing well , wherever they are, and concentrate on getting the centre better retailers to encourage fiolk in. You want people in the town so give cheap parking and bus fares to encourage them but there's nothing to go for at the moment.

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    Irene Wragg

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • There is a poor selection of shops in Ipswich town centre. Even places like Bury or Wood bridge offer a better shopping experience. Had John Lewes built in the town centre it would have had a much better impact on the town's footfall than moving this low cost enterprise which is far from being unique.

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    amsterdam81

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

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

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