Ipswich Borough Council could take a closer look at its planning rules after a number of American candy stores opened in the town centre.

There has been growing concern about the number of these shops opening around the country - in some places the numbers that have opened have overwhelmed an area and there has been concern that some could have been opened as a money-laundering venture.

There is no suggestion that is the case in Ipswich - but there is concern about the colour schemes of the shops and the fact that vapes are sold alongside sweets.

Ipswich council portfolio holding for planning Carole Jones said officials at the borough were having a new look at the rules regarding external painting.

Ipswich Star: Carole Jones has concerns about American Candy Stores.Carole Jones has concerns about American Candy Stores. (Image: Newsquest)

She said: "They can be quite garish and can look out of place in the town centre - so we are looking at the rules to see if they can be tightened up."

And she was worried about the impact on children's health from selling brightly-coloured sweets alongside vapes in the same store.

She said: "We may contact the county council about sending in their trading standard offices to look at whether any children are buying vapes from these shops."

In London the growth of American candy stores has caused concern - 20 have opened on Oxford Street alone and there are fears that some are not paying business rates.

The Labour Party has said it would look at the whole sector if it comes to power next year.

Sanaullah Niazai owns two stores in Ipswich - in Carr Street and in Westgate Street - as well as two others in Colchester and Cambridge. 

He said he was aware of concerns elsewhere but his business was totally legitimate: "I have all my accounts filed and I am happy for anyone to look at them!"

The staff in his shops were members of his family or friends - and all had been trained to ensure no vapes were sold to under-age customers: "That can be difficult because you get youngsters trying to buy them - but we always insist on identification before we sell any vaping material," he said.