The departure of the Next store from an Ipswich retail park has been met with disappointment by community leaders.

The Next Outlet Branch in Suffolk Retail Park, in London Road in the town, closed its doors for good.

This branch, the first unit customers see upon entering the retail park, had been earmarked for closure in 2022 – but it was saved and turned into an outlet branch.

News of the fashion retailer's closure has saddened community leaders in the area.

Ipswich Star: Next Outlet in Ipswich has closedNext Outlet in Ipswich has closed (Image: Charlotte Bond)

Ipswich borough councillor for Westgate ward, Colin Kreidewolf, said: "It's disappointing to see this store close but it appears that Next had been running down this store for some time.

"Ideally we would like Next to be represented in the town centre.

"Hopefully, the managers will be able to find a new tenant for what remains a popular retail park."

Ipswich Star: Cllr Colin KreidewolfCllr Colin Kreidewolf (Image: Charlotte Bond)

Julian Gibbs, also of Westgate ward, added: "It is sad to see the store close, which is popular with residents, but it seems that Next were running the store down for a while.

"Ideally, we would like to see Next return to the High Street, where it would be welcomed.

"As Next departs the Retail Park, I am sure managers are working on bringing new tenants to the Park".

Ipswich Star: Cllr Julian GibbsCllr Julian Gibbs (Image: Newsquest)

A spokesman for the fashion chain confirmed the store at Suffolk Retail Park closed last weekend.

The spokesman said: "We can confirm that the Ipswich Outlet Store ceased trade on Saturday, February 10.

"Unfortunately there is no further information at this time."

The windows of the building have been lined with white sheets, with a notice on the door informing customers of its closure.

It was the last Next store in Ipswich, with the Martlesham Heath branch now being the closest to the town.

Ipswich Star: Next Outlet closed on Saturday, February 10Next Outlet closed on Saturday, February 10 (Image: Charlotte Bond)