All 458 empty businesses in Ipswich – mapped
- Credit: Archant
More than 450 pubs, clubs, high street shops and offices across Ipswich are currently empty – with more than 300 in the town centre alone.
According to data published by Ipswich Borough Council, 458 properties are not currently in use, including restaurants, pubs, banks and even sports grounds.
There are 213 vacant offices in the borough, with 113 shops and stores also empty.
Businesses are continuing to open in the town, with chains like Aldi, B and M Home Bargains and Food Warehouse opening their doors in 2019, as well as new independent retailers.
But there has also been a wave of companies forced to close, with high street names like Ohh Deer and Cotswold Outdoor pulling out of town.
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An Ipswich Borough Council spokesman said: "We are working hard to attract businesses to locate and thrive in the town in a number of ways.
"These include investing in regeneration sites such as Princes Street and St Peter's Dock, making small retail grants to encourage firms to invest in their properties, implementing national business rate relief schemes, developing skills and job opportunities with a range of partners, and supporting enterprise zones which bring five years of business rate relief."
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Does Ipswich have more empty shops than other towns?
This data comes in the same week it was revealed almost 10% of Ipswich's town centre shops are vacant.
A target of less than 55 empty premises was set for the town for 2018/19 but 67 shops actually remained unused.
Council leader David Ellesmere said: "Empty shops are a feature of towns and cities right across the UK.
"It is against this national background that we are doing what we can to get the level of empty shops down - in fact we reached the target for retail shops opening last year and two more have opened so far in 2019/20.
"We are still able to attract new retailers to Ipswich. Nationally, the empty premises rate in this category has risen to 13%."
Ipswich Vision chairman Terry Hunt was encouraged by a great summer for footfall and the slew of events like Ed Sheeran's Chantry Park gigs that pulled people to Ipswich.
Mr Hunt said: "The strategy is to get more people into the town centre and a key component of that is to encourage more people to live in or within striking distance of the town centre.
"If you have people living in or near the town centre they will want to go shopping, they want to be entertained, they want to eat at restaurants and cafes, and they will want to go to shops and spend money.
"On top of that, we need to find innovative and different uses for our empty shops, and that could be pop-up shops, places where families can be entertained, something to attract all ages.
"The footfall figures look really encouraging and it was an example of what Ipswich can do."