Victoria Nurseries, just off Westerfield Road, closes its gates for the last time on Tuesday after nearly 40 years of supplying plants to the town's gardens and Christmas Trees to its homes.

Ian May and his partner Wendy are retiring after running the business since 1984 - and the site is now set to be redeveloped.

They announced the closure at the end of last year just as they were gearing up for one of the busiest times of the year with the delivery of their first Christmas Trees.

Ipswich Star: Ian May is closing Victoria NurseriesIan May is closing Victoria Nurseries (Image: Paul Geater)

But the business has always operated with temporary planning permission and they always knew the site would eventually have a new use.

Mr May said: "People have been very kind. We've had all kinds of good luck messages since we announced the closure.

"We'll miss our customers - but this is the time to go."

There is a proposal to build a care home on the site. This was rejected by Ipswich council plannners, but the applicants appealed and the result of that is expected in the spring.

Mr May said: "We don't know what will happen here, but the site is earmarked for residential use by the council. We'll have to wait and see."

While 76-year-old Mr May is retiring - he isn't planning to put his feet up all the time.

He said: "We want to spend more time in north Norfolk, we love it up there. And I want to get out on the golf course more!" 

And he hasn't ruled out doing something else: "I might get a part-time job for a couple of days a week, I'll see what happens."

He also plans to be part of people's festive preparations again - at the end of the year he will be selling Christmas Trees from Venue 16 (formerly Greshams) on Tuddenham Road.

In the meantime he's busy clearing the last of the stock and the fixtures from the site on Kettlebaston Way, and meeting a steady procession of customers who are calling around for one last time to say goodbye and wish him good luck in the future.