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Shoppers give their views over possible Marks & Spencer move out of town

PUBLISHED: 16:45 24 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:50 24 February 2019

Marks & Spencer, Ipswich. 
Picture: DAVID VINCENT

Marks & Spencer, Ipswich. Picture: DAVID VINCENT

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Shoppers have been reacting to news that Marks & Spencer may move out of Ipswich town centre.

Toys R Us Copdock. A new use is being sought for the building. Picture: LUCY TAYLORToys R Us Copdock. A new use is being sought for the building. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

It emerged that the company has been looking for a site on the edge of town to open a new food store, and is understood to have enquired about taking over the former Toys R Us store at Copdock Mill.

However, Tesco – which operates the superstore on the retail park – has a covenant preventing the opening of any other large-scale food store on the same park. It is understood that M&S may now be looking for another site to the west of the town.

On Facebook, some shoppers voiced their dismay at the idea. Dawn Floodgate said: “So how would people like my mum, who can’t drive, get to these places? Especially with bus services being cut, and she doesn’t have a computer. Very sad times.”

Robbie Charles commented: “With the demise of Debenhams, the market being moved and Pret not coming here, this would be doom for Ipswich shopping. We just revamped the Cornhill and why did we invest if everyone is going to go to Martlesham/Copdock/Goddard Road?”

Raymond Green said: “The food hall is used largely by older people who likely don’t drive. It is close to the bus station, whereas these people are unlikely to go to a distant trading estate. It wouldn’t be quite so bad if there were decent food outlets in the town centre.”

Jane Songhurst said: “This makes no sense. They are closing our store in Felixstowe, but may look to open another food store in the Ipswich area. Why don’t they just make Felixstowe, all food so people won’t have to travel to Ipswich or Martlesham? Not everyone has a car and public transport doesn’t go to some of the areas, and takes forever to get there.”

However, others were more enthusiastic about the idea of M&S moving. Graham Ward commented: “This is a sensible move for M&S - much more flexibility than in the town centre.”

Zee King said: “The Toys R Us site would be a good location for M&S, and the covenant against food shops isn’t helpful. People no longer stick to one store and it’s more than likely that shoppers would visit both Tesco, M&S and Aldi just the other side of the roundabout.”

Amanda Lawrenson said: “Good idea. Ipswich town centre is too expensive to park in, you feel unsafe walking around and there’s little choice. Put Marks & Spencer nearer to Felixstowe on a bus route,they’re about to lose theirs.”

Others commented on what they would like to see take over the former Toys R Us store. Kate Whelan said: “I would like Ikea, or something we don’t have in town that is needed!”

And Jean McSorley said: “Ikea is on my wish list too. I certainly wouldn’t drive to M&S, but I would to Ikea.”

Claire Rycraft wanted to see a leisure complex, calling for “a multiple sports/ice rink/swimming complex. Not another retail unit!”

Adam Merritt agreed, saying: “Just putting it out there could it be used as a indoor sporting facilities which can be used to draw top level athletes to the town and that can be used for the public, such as a Olympic-size swimming pool?”

Lisa Hunt said: “Turn it into a small mall, with a number of different smaller shops inside! It’s a big enough site to do it!”

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