A HUGE employment boost could be headed to the town if a massive new development is given the green light.

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Furtura Business Park

The Ipswich site was bought in 1919 by Crane Co of Chicago

Crane had a foundry at Ipswich for 83 years, but production was switched to China.

Crane engineering poured its last metal in June 2008 and stopped production of iron fittings at its Nacton Road foundry.

The former Crane Engineering factory in Nacton Road is being developed to make way for the creation of the Futura Business Park.

About a quarter of the park will be occupied by a huge superstore for John Lewis At Home and Waitrose.

The developers behind the Waitrose/John Lewis superstore beside Ransomes Way have submitted new plans to build five units on the site in the hopes of attract big names including DFS, the Furniture Village, Carphone Warehouse and Costa Coffee.

The build would be the second phase of the Futura Park site which is currently under major development. Demolition of the former Crane factory is complete and developers say the new John Lewis and Waitrose stores will be open by the end of the year.

The Star is backing the project through the I Love Ipswich campaign.

Paul Isaacs, managing director of AquiGen, the company developing the site said phase two of the development would be a major boost for the town. He said he hoped work on the second phase of the build would begin immediately if planning permission was granted.

He said: “It is a £100million development in total across the whole of Futura Park and it is very exciting for the town.

“We are at quite an advanced stage with two or three of the potential tenants.

“The demolition of the old building is complete and remedial work is ongoing. We are looking set to open phase one of the development as planned in November this year.”

The new plans had been acceptable in principle when the first proposals for Futura Park got the go-ahead at the end of last year, but developers were asked to submit more detailed plans.

Borough councillor for the Priory Heath ward John Le Grys said he welcomed any opportunity to create jobs in the town.

“In general terms I think anything like this which brings more employment to this part of Ipswich is a good thing,” he said.

Carole Jones, councillor with responsibility for economic development, said: “We welcome plans for development and employment in the town.”

The revelations come a month after The Star revealed that a planning application for two new restaurants had been submitted to the council.

If given the green light, the plans would see the restaurants open on land between Nacton Road, Ravenswood Avenue and Alnesbourn Crescent.

The plans, put in by Mitchells & Butlers Leisure Retail Ltd, reveal hopes that the units will be filled by national restaurant chains Harvester and Toby’s Carvery.

Complete with 102 car parking spaces, the new proposals would provide a massive boost to the area.

The site is currently undeveloped and covered in tall grass and shrubs and has been allocated as land specifically for the use of restaurants.

The planning proposals for the two new restaurants is set to be discussed by councillors on August 15.

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