Former Ipswich department store to become apartments

The former Co-op department store, Carr Street, which has now been sold Picture: DAVID VINCENT

The former Co-op department store, Carr Street, which has now been sold Picture: DAVID VINCENT - Credit: Archant

Property developer John Howard, the man behind the Winerack development on Ipswich Waterfront, has now turned his attention to the town centre.

Developer John Howard is turning his attention to Ipswich town centre, and the former Co-op departm

Developer John Howard is turning his attention to Ipswich town centre, and the former Co-op department store in Carr Street Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

He has unveiled plans to re-develop the former Co-op department store and offices in Carr Street to provide 33 additional town centre homes, all intended for first-time buyers.

It is part of the regeneration of the Carr Street area of town.

The other main Co-op department store building has already been sold by the East of England Co-op to be developed as a new town centre school by the Active Learning Trust.

READ MORE: Latest news on the Winerack

Mr Howard has snapped up the remaining Carr Street building, in order to convert the upper floors into homes.

He has applied for detailed planning permission to Ipswich Borough Council.

It is another landmark building in the town and is listed locally for its important architectural and historical interest.

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David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, welcomed the news.

He said: “It is an important step forward. The town centre is changing. There is a strong desire to get more people living in the town centre and supporting town centre businesses.”

The East of England Co-op sold off its department stores, including Carr Street in Ipswich, in 2009.

Although the Ipswich department store subsequently closed, the Co-op retained the freehold ownership of the buildings.

At ground floor level various shop units have been let to a number of shops and other business occupiers.

Meanwhile, on the Waterfront, the Winerack development is now under way again with the first of phase of 150 apartments on the site overlooking the marina due to be completed and ready for occupation by the Spring.

The project stood untouched for a decade after the recession and economic collapse.

Now Mr Howard’s company, Ipswich Wharf Developments, has put together the deal to complete the scheme.

Eventually there will be 150 homes in four blocks, with a state-of-the-art car stacker parking system at the core.

It includes a 19-storey tower block.

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