Ipswich shoppers have been "urged" to use shops and services in Sailmakers following the sale of the centre.

Sailmakers Shopping Centre was sold at auction today for £20,000 over its asking price.

The winning bid was priced at £3,020,000, after just two bids were received minutes before the auction was due to end.

The first bid was received at 1.49pm, while the second and final offer was accepted at 1.50pm.

Ipswich Star: The winning bid on the Allsop websiteThe winning bid on the Allsop website (Image: Allsop)

Just two years after it was purchased by Nottingham-based company ALB Group, the centre is under new ownership.

First opened in 1986 as Tower Ramparts Shopping Centre, the complex has changed hands numerous times.

In 2005, the centre was sold for more than £30m and previously changed hands for £26m in 2002, £24m in 1999 and £22.36m in 1995.

In 2012, property giants LaSalle bought the centre spending £4 million on transforming it and bringing it up to date.

Prior to the sale, George Walker, of Allsop, said: "It is quite a difficult asset to sell because retail has had a decade of troubled times.

Ipswich Borough Councillor for the Alexandra Ward, John Cook, where Sailmakers is situated, said: "Clearly the company which owns Sailmakers will be disappointed at the lack of interest.

"Perhaps they needed to take a bit more time to actively market it, after gaining recent planning approval for change of use.

"They now have a decision to make regarding whether they seek to redevelop the upper floors themselves, or go about a more extensive marketing plan.

Ipswich Star: Ipswich Borough Councillor John CookIpswich Borough Councillor John Cook (Image: Ipswich Labour Party)

"Whatever they choose to do, I urge Ipswich residents to use the shops and services in Sailmakers and across the town if they want to see a more vibrant and sustainable town centre."

The new owners of Sailmakers will be in charge of making decisions on shops in the centre, new prospective shops, and also the 26 flats which have recently been granted to be built in the centre.

Sailmakers is home to shops such as River Island, Poundland and HMV.

It is not yet known who the new owners are.

Ipswich Central and Ipswich Borough Council were approached for comment.

Ipswich Star: Sailmakers Shopping CentreSailmakers Shopping Centre (Image: Newsquest)