Borough in talks with possible new stores for Ipswich town centre

Ipswich town centre.

Ipswich town centre. - Credit: Archant

Ipswich council has been in talks with major high street names in a bid to give new impetus to the town centre, it has emerged.

Borough leader David Ellesmere said council officials were looking at a list of potential new arrivals for the town centre – but they needed to be realistic about who could be attracted.

The news comes as we publish suggestions from readers about which stores they would like to see arrive to boost the town – see our letters page.

Mr Ellesmere said the council had identified national retailers and other businesses that might be interested in coming to town, but it was not as straight-forward as some people would like it to be.

He said: “We have to look at what units there are to offer and at which companies are currently looking to expand.

“The town does not have many large units to offer and we have to work with landowners and property managers.

But we are talking to some of the names that I know your readers have said they would like to see.”

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The largest modern unit in the town centre currently unoccupied is the former BHS store in the Butter Market street.

The former Co-op Department Store in Carr Street has been empty for many years apart from the Age UK charity shop on part of the ground floor – but that is quite old-style and is away from the main shopping area of the town.

There are hopes that new units can be developed in Upper Brook Street and in the Cornhill area.

Readers have warned that Ipswich remains at risk of losing shoppers to Norwich, Bury St Edmunds, and the “new kid on the block” Westfield Centre at Stratford in east London which has an entrance straight from the railway station there.

It is thought unlikely that the town centre would be able to attract new department stores like House of Fraser or a full-range John Lewis – but other stores like Zara, Urban Vintage, and a return by Next are also often mentioned.

What our readers think – see page 18.