Ipswich Borough Council is set to use special powers to purchase the landmark former Grimwades building in the town centre.

The council's executive will be recommended to start compulsory purchase proceedings of the Cornhill site at a meeting on Tuesday, June 13.

This action will be taken to prevent the building, which has been vacant for more than a decade, to remain empty in the years to come.

The former J H Grimwade store closed down in 1996, but is still known as Grimwades by the people of Ipswich.

The business was founded by Richard Grimwade, a tailor in Westgate Street, in 1844.

It was carried on by his 16-year-old son John after Richard left town, and the shop was extended on the corner on to the Cornhill.

Ipswich Star: Neil MacDonald, Ipswich Borough Council leaderNeil MacDonald, Ipswich Borough Council leader (Image: Warren Page/Ipswich Council)

The shop was an old style ladies and gentlemens outfitters also selling school uniforms, while in its later years there was a restaurant on the first floor.

Neil MacDonald, Ipswich Borough Council leader, said the authority wanted to see a "vibrant town centre" and believes taking over Grimwades will benefit the area.

He said: “It’s disappointing that the owner, who lives in Dubai, has refused to sell the building to the council, while restricting the prospective use of the building in his ownership.

"This empty building blights our town centre.

“The council knows that there are potential occupiers out there who would happily lease the building from us if we had control of it.

"We only use compulsory purchase powers where we believe that there is no other option.

"It seems this is the only way to bring this building back into use, for the benefit of the town.

“Ipswich Borough Council is actively engaging with the landlords of other empty buildings in the town to encourage them back into use.

"We want to see a vibrant town centre as much as residents do and will be relentless in our work to achieve this.”