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Ipswich: Readers back discount store B&M in battle with borough that has reignited retail park v town centre debate

12:36 16 May 2014

B&M Homestore at Ransomes Europark,Ipswich.

B&M Homestore at Ransomes Europark,Ipswich.

Star readers have backed discount retailer B&M in its battle with the borough to carry on selling a wide variety of goods from its store on Ransomes Euro Retail park.

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However the planning application to decide whether to relax planning restrictions on the store is unlikely to be decided at Wednesday’s meeting of the council’s planning and development committee.

Hundreds of readers took part in our webpoll on whether B&M should be allowed to trade from an out-of-town site – with two thirds of them saying it should be allowed to continue to trade as it is currently from a retail park.

The result did not impress borough council leader David Ellesmere who said he had not encountered much support for out-of-town shopping during campaigning in Ipswich.

He said: “I’ve been knocking on doors every day as part of the election campaign, and I have to say I haven’t had anyone saying they want to see more out of town shops. They want us to protect and enhance 
the town centre – and that is what we are trying to do.”

The discount retailer, whose chairman is former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy, took over the former Next store on the retail park last year.

However there is a condition that stores trading there can only sell bulky goods – or 10% non-bulky goods if they are associated with their main stock.

The company had put in a planning application to relax this condition, but there was a firm recommendation from officers that this should be rejected in a bid to safeguard the viability of the town centre.


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26 comments

  • Confusion,Confusion,If the council are so intent on"ordering" BM to move to car street,why didn't they do so to waitrose rather than them locating at the old cranes site & at the same time carving up the old corn exchange to create a" tiny convenience store"

    Report this comment

    al

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • I am not sure who David Ellesmere is talking to, it certainly isn't people who come to Ipswich to shop to find it takes as long to get to an overpriced parking place as it has to travel the 30 or 40 miles there only to find parades of pound shops and charity shops with takeaway food shops between them or shops of no relevance to people outside of the Ipswich international communities. The prevalence of charity shops and low end shops in Ipswich tells you that the council is inflexible and charging unrealistic business rates, overpricing its parking changes and under investing. This is not a formula to regenerate anything, the way to do that is to topple a top heavy council and appoint some truly broad minded, community spirited types who know about business and how hard it has been for the last decade not greedy self interested people with a very light grip on reality.

    Report this comment

    Suffolk Boy

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  • So what will happen to the empty unit that B & M move out of as well as the Paul Simon unit. Will they be left empty and untidy. Went though the town on Thursday and it is dirty and unappealing and there is no way that will attract any decent stores. A lot of people I know go out of the town if they want to go shopping. If the Council are not careful B & M will just go out of the town. I bulk buy in there. Does that count?

    Report this comment

    juicylucy

    Saturday, May 17, 2014

  • I no longer go into Ipswich town centre. What is the point of paying through the nose for car parking to a walk through this thoroughly depressing former shopping centre. That pathetic eyesore of a market is first image Ipswich conjures up. Who wants to run the hazards of cyclists, chuggers, extremely bad trumpet players and the sense of despair in this festering town.

    Report this comment

    Billy Knowbend

    Saturday, May 17, 2014

  • I get the impression that Ipswich Borough have got themselves in a bit of a muddle by approving John Lewis, etc, shops on the old Crane site, and now trying to refuse B & M here. Also, I don't know why they didn't want housing on Cranes.

    Report this comment

    rustic

    Saturday, May 17, 2014

  • I will admit that I haven't read all the comments on here so apologise if I repeat anything already said. You surely cannot give permission for a shop to trade on a site and then say"I am sorry you need to move to this site!" I have no doubt that a B&M store in the old Co-op Store would be great for the town centre, but I also have no doubt (having previously had to close a Business in the town centre) that Business rates and rent will be far higher in town! Don't even get me going on car park charges and bus fares!

    Report this comment

    ME

    Saturday, May 17, 2014

  • Ipswich town centre is now frankly a dump and trying to force a business like B&M to relocate there will do nothing to change that. In fact, it will just reinforce the town centre's downmarket image. Difficult to believe now that in the 80s you could choose either Ipswich or Norwich for shopping and there wasn't much difference between them. Norwich is now in a vastly different league (even if its football team isn't) and a pleasure to go round. When it comes to the local rag celebrating the arrival of, of all things, a Poundland in a major Ipswich shopping centre, you know things are grim. David Ellesmere said "he had not encountered much support for out-of-town shopping during campaigning in Ipswich". Perhaps he ought to be having a word with the rest of Suffolk that was once spending its money in the town but now goes elsewhere.

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    Fromus

    Friday, May 16, 2014

  • Labour council and the co-op what mor eneeds to be said.

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    another day in the mad house

    Friday, May 16, 2014

  • if the old coop store was worth going into then surely Tesco would have been in there already perhaps Halfords and others don't like to many cars using all the spaces if BM move out who will go in. No Future park across the road is not full, perhaps if the rates were cheaper in the town then there would be no need to fill it with bookies and chairity shops

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    Charley Farley

    Friday, May 16, 2014

  • Yes the council must not be allowed to tell a business where to relocate to that's just wrong, but if B M agreed to these conditions when they planning permission was given then they must adopt those strict conditions. If it affects there business model then it's there fault. Why dont they move to outside the council influence ie Martlesham if they can find a place. It must be clear to all by now ipswich town centre is a dump big time and Carr St rivals Norwich Rd. for looking like some third world street in some far away place in asia or eastern europe. It's a scarry experience walking down those street's

    Report this comment

    a west

    Friday, May 16, 2014

  • I travel from stowmarket to shop in B&M, as do many of my family and friends, I will NOT make the journey if it means going into Ipswich Town Centre. Neither will they! Simples.

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    a friend

    Friday, May 16, 2014

  • Who in their right mind would want to move to that part of town? The end is a dump ,QD stores gone and no dout pound land soon as their new store gets up to speed ,B&M tell the council what to do with their so called rule.

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    pandy

    Friday, May 16, 2014

  • If Ellesmere and the dreadful Ipswich Central want to encourage people into the town centre then perhaps they should take steps to reverse the damage that has been done to traffic recently with the changes to the roads. My family have stopped going in to Ipswich for shopping since the traffic light debacle was implemented.

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    Esco Fiasco

    Friday, May 16, 2014

  • interestingly, have you notices how B&M don't have a refrigerated section anymore? We always used to pick up packs of ham, chicken, Sandwiches etc which were good value. When we asked a member of staff we were told "We had to remove it because Morrisons is coming next year" How petty is that?

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    You What

    Friday, May 16, 2014

  • " The result did not impress borough council leader David Ellesmere " Who cares, we know what council leaders are like, and they're all hypocrites .

    Report this comment

    You What

    Friday, May 16, 2014

  • Why would B&M want to move to the town centre they would lose custom. People don't want to shop in the town it costs an arm and a leg to park as opposed to free parking at retail parks. Also who do the council think they are trying to force B&M to move into the old CO-OP store its a dump and needs to be updated. I find the arrogance of these councils breathtaking, they were formed to serve the people and somehow have evolved into thinking they are our bosses I hope B&M tell them where to go.

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    royg

    Friday, May 16, 2014

  • its confusing because the council said the former Coop store wasnt suitable for Waitrose because of its location and the cost of conversion that directly led to them building an out of town location up at Ransomes, so why would that Coop location appeal to B&M, and why should they be forced to move into a particular store thats run down and needs millions invested in it to bring it up to scratch. equally I thought the whole councils position on the Ransomes park shopping centre that theyve created through years of inaction and ipswich centrals running down of the town centre, was that it was outside the Ipswich boundaries of influence and the fault of whichever of the Suffolk councils takes credit for that part of town. so why does Ipswich BC have any say on this at all, or is this another classic example of why Ipswich needs unitary status.

    Report this comment

    beerbaron

    Friday, May 16, 2014

  • I am absolutely amazed at the arrogance of the Council. Fell over themselves to welcome John Lewis et al when they should have been enticing them into a town centre location and now this. What about the proposal for Morrisons to share with B & Q on the same estate. They have agreed to that. Come on chaps at least be consistent.

    Report this comment

    locoman

    Friday, May 16, 2014

  • You have to wonder who gave them tenancy in the first place if there was this rule on bulk goods only?

    Report this comment

    evilweazel

    Friday, May 16, 2014

  • That remionds me... i must stop buying those bulky socks etc from sports direct! It seems like a council bullying scheme to force businesses into the town centre rather than encourage them

    Report this comment

    CleverReporting

    Friday, May 16, 2014

  • So what about the people who live near these out of town sites? Don't they get a say in what they want? Isn't John Lewis and Wait rose just across the road? Doesn't seem a very consistent policy.

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Friday, May 16, 2014

  • B&M is very much like a QD-ish style shop (one step up from the pound shops). The council has no right to force a business to relocate to the town. So perhaps they are in breach... but telling them they must relocate into the town otherwise we will refuse permission is scandalous. Thats without even bringing Morrisons into this! B&M will just close down and keep the Copdock Interchange one... resulting in job losses. ***** Are the Ipswich people waking up? IBC and Ipswich Central are hindering the town... they are allowing Morrisons but want to get rid of B&M for anti-competitive purposes and feel moving another low-value brand in to the town is something to encourage people to come here and shop?! If I was Morrisons, I will be honest... I would say "Get rid of B&M, No one will pay our prices otherwise..." Its shocking that the council would resort to these lengths. **** They cannot see outside the council boundary and are a bit misguided - not realising the existing Morrisons store is actually within the Ipswich boundary - just. Its an interesting one, the council pretty much implemented a blanket-ban on new supermarkets... not sure how a subdivision of an existing store doesn't fall under the same, its still a supermarket after all. **** As for David... asking free bus-pass holders who do not have a car and want the convenience of just one bus trip into town... are obviously going to prefer shopping in the town centre!!! Anyone with a car... would rather avoid the newly created additional traffic problems and lack of decent shops.

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Friday, May 16, 2014

  • There doesn't seem to have been any discussion of how this "bulky items only" condition is going to affect the plan to convert part of B&Q into a supermarket.

    Report this comment

    beerlover

    Friday, May 16, 2014

  • Why would anyone want to go into town and pay through the nose for parking when they can get everything they need on the retail parks and park for free? The council are trying to force footfall into the town. Let's have free parking in town at weekends first.

    Report this comment

    Ashley Barrett

    Friday, May 16, 2014

  • I was speaking to a long standing Ipswich town retailer when our council gave John Lewis an out of town superstore. Now this is the business that Ipswich council should have negotiated huge reduction in town centre rates with added benefits. If John Lewis had opened a retail unit in tower ramparts or butter market think of the attraction to our town.What will B&M add? The only reason David Ellesmere want the town to be used if parking revenue for him and his cronies.

    Report this comment

    richard procter

    Friday, May 16, 2014

  • Mr Ellesmere is right that people in Ipswich would like a better Town Centre but it is up to the powers that be to attract new shops and to not try and close one that is already set up. Its called victimisation when the only excuse they can come up with is that those units are for people selling bulky items. Do Sports Direct sell bulky items? Also not all the items B & Q sell are bulky. Morrisons would not have sold anything bulky. Then what about the units across the road, does the same rule apply to them. Sounds like another case of trying to shut the door after the horse has bolted. Tell all the other shops up there to move into the Town Centre. Hope B & M fight this one.

    Report this comment

    juicylucy

    Friday, May 16, 2014

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