Could Aldi closure prompt all change in Ipswich shops?
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Reports that Aldi is set to pull out of its Meredith Road store on the Whitton estate could set off a chain reaction of moves of budget food stores in the north west of Ipswich.
The company is understood to be planning to close its Meredith Road store - the first it opened in Ipswich - at the end of October following the opening of its larger store at the junction of Europa Way and Sproughton Road at Easter.
The new store is larger and has a car park that is easier to access - but it does not have as many potential customers living within walking distance as the Meredith Road site which has remained busy despite the new opening.
Regular users of the Meredith Road store have heard that the site is being taken over by rival budget store Farm Foods which specialises in frozen foods.
That currently has a store in Bramford Road near Wellington Street - but Meredith Road is much larger and has a larger car park.
All the discussions and speculation have concerned local residents said Castle Hill councillor Sam Murray, whose ward the Meredith Road store is in.
She said: "It is always very busy there with people walking to the shop from their homes nearby. If it were to close completely it would be a real blow for the area - especially for people who don't have cars."
Neither Aldi nor Farm Foods have so far responded to our queries about the future of their stores in that part of the town.
If the Meredith Road site does remain open as a food store, that could in turn open the way for the construction of another store on the Anglia Retail Park opposite Asda.
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Retail Park owner Ipswich Borough Assets - the property company owned by the council - is expected to seek planning permission for a food store on the site and would be more likely to persuade planners to allow the application if there are no empty retail units in the area.
There have been suggestions that another budget retailer, Lidl, could be interested in a development there - but it is understood that no formal agreement has been reached.