Planning officials at Mid Suffolk council are still waiting for an application to build a new M&S Simply Food store at Stowmarket.

Developers Location3 Property has launched a public consultation about plans to build the new store on land off Gun Cotton Way between the town's Tesco superstore and the Tomo Industrial Park.

Mid Suffolk planning portfolio holder Andrew Stringer said he would be interested to see the application, but did not think it would be too complicated.

Ipswich Star: Andrew Stringer, of Mid SuffolkAndrew Stringer, of Mid Suffolk (Image: Sarah Lucy Brown)

He said: "We shall have to do a sequential test to see what impact it would have on the town centre but I don't think the application should take too long to deal with."

There are questions about what impact the new store may have on existing M&S stores in the county - but that is not a matter for planners.

Nationally the company is seeking to increase the number of food-only stores it operates from retail parks where drivers can wheel trolleys out to their cars.

Meanwhile it has been closing some of its more traditional stores in town and city centres - including Colchester where it moved to a retail park.

There is already an M&S Simply Food store at Martlesham Heath to the east of Ipswich - and there has been speculation that the company has been looking for another location on the western side of the town.

A bid to take over the former Toys R Us site at the Copdock Interchange ended when the building was bought by council-owned Ipswich Borough Assets in a bid to protect the town centre store.

Stowmarket may be considered too far away to attract many shoppers from Ipswich - but the company will be hoping to attract customers from growing communities in the area including Needham Market, Great Blakenham and Claydon, as well as the growing estates in Stowmarket itself.