New Starbucks coffee shop planned for Ipswich town centre

The former Office Shoes store in Westgate Street, Ipswich, which could become a Starbucks branch

The former Office Shoes store in Westgate Street, Ipswich, which could become a Starbucks branch - Credit: Paul Geater/Archant

A new Starbucks coffee shop could be coming to Ipswich town centre.

The chain wants to open a cafe in the former Office Shoes unit in Westgate Street, which closed last year.

Franchisee KBeverage Ltd has applied for planning permission. It already runs the West End Road Starbucks drive-thru in Ipswich and a number of other branches in Suffolk and Norfolk.

The new coffee shop would have a total of 66 seats, spread over two floors, including soft seating and perch seats. The number would also include eight outdoor seats.

Starbucks previously had a nearby branch in the former Great White Horse Hotel in Tavern Street, which closed in 2018.

At the new coffee shop, partition walls would be installed to create toilets and staff areas.

The proposal also includes redecoration and widening of existing openings.

The unit is part of the Grade II listed former Crown and Anchor Hotel, which also includes the neighbouring WH Smith store.

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Listed building and conservation area consent have been applied for, with a heritage statement saying the external appearance will be "largely unaltered" except for new signage.

It adds the internal alterations will have no impact on any heritage assets.

Starbucks opened a new drive-thru in the town's Sproughton Road in August.

It also has coffee shops at Ipswich Station and Cineworld, Cardinal Park.

A spokesman for Starbucks said: "“We look forward to bringing the Starbucks experience to customers in Ipswich in the future and we’ll be in touch once we have more specific plans to share.”

On Facebook, some Ipswich shoppers  welcomed the news.  Sarah Wagstaff Till said: "I think it is a good thing. Love a good Starbucks and it's way better than a sad old empty unit. The more prosperous the town looks, the more it will attract."

Joanne King said: "Yes, let’s have something in there rather than nothing. If retail stores thought they could make some money, I’m sure they’d have occupied the site by now."

And Gavin Goddard said: "The high street needs a Starbucks. The closure of the White Horse branch was a heartbreaker."

Other shoppers disagreed, however. Emma Richards said: "OK, this will be a job opportunity for some, but do we really need another coffee shop?

Geoff Poole commented: "Job opportunities and another business in the town centre are plus points. On the other hand, there isn't exactly a dearth of cafes in the town centre."

And Tracey Kim said: "As if we don't have enough coffee shops, charity shops and mobile phone shops." 

Members of the public can see full details of the application at the borough's planning website, using the reference number IP/21/00998/LBC. Any representations should be sent in by October 11.

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