September 20 2014 Latest news:
Paul Geater and Amy Westall
Friday, July 25, 2014
Proposals for a £4 million revamp for the Tower Ramparts shopping centre have received a warm welcome from tenants after they were formally unveiled to them yesterday.
We revealed that the centre, built in 1986, is to be rebranded Sailmakers during the facelift which should be completed by the middle of next year.
The work will carry on from the major changes at both ends of the centre with the creation of new shops for Iceland, Poundland and River Island.
Boots, which is not part of the centre but opens into the shopping mall, is also having a major facelift.
Centre manager Mike Sorhaindo was delighted by the reaction of tenants who were shown off the proposed changes at yesterday’s meeting.
He said: “They were all very positive, and told us they liked what was being proposed. It’s very important to keep the tenants happy and keep them informed about what is happening.”
Kelly Chamberlain from The Bear Garden on the upper floor of the centre was very excited at the proposals: “It’s clear that a lot of thought and planning has gone into this and I think it looks really good.
“It should attract a lot more people into the centre. I’m really pleased that we (the tenants) are going on this journey.”
A formal planning application for the changes at the centre has been lodged with the borough council and a decision is expected to be made within the next two or three months. No major problems are anticipated.
Centre owner LaSalle Investment Management hopes to start the work at the end of January, after the busy Christmas and post-Christmas sales period.
The aim is to complete the refurbishment by the middle of next year – and to have attracted new tenants to move in by then.
Craig Hatt, 28, from Ipswich, said: “You need something in Sailmakers which will keep you here for longer than a couple of hours. It seems sad that there are pound shops scattered around rather than independent stores, so maybe use this revamp to add more variety to the town. You could even use this place as a stop off point and add a few restaurants into it.”
Coralie Storey, 20, from Ipswich, said: “I love High Street shopping, but don’t see any point if it’s mainly for upgrades and same old retailers I can visit elsewhere. I personally prefer to go to Norwich for a day out, as I only come to Ipswich town centre to pop in, get what I need, then leave. I feel that Sailmakers should turn into an entertaining stop off point, along with more places to sit down and eat.”
Janet and David Blackiston, 53 and 69 from Harwich, said: “We just come to the High Street to get what we need, and then go down to the Waterfront to get away from the shopping crowds. We enjoy the popular national chain stores as it saves us travelling all the way to Lakeside for example. There’s no need to bring food or stop offs into Sailmakers, as this High Street can be kept for shopping only. Besides, there are many places to eat on the outskirts of Ipswich as well as a decent cinema, which would be a better place to escape with easier parking.”
Ann Skipper, 65 from Bury St Edmunds, said: “The current entrance is not very attractive and it definitely needs tidying up. Ipswich town centre has lost its historical factor along the way and Sailmakers may be something to reflect the maritime heritage. The Waterfront and the town centre seem very separate, so we need something to connect the two together.”