Former Ipswich Monsoon could become a new tea shop

Former Monsoon store

A new tea shop could open in the former Monsoon store in Ipswich - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

A new tea shop and patisserie could open in the former Monsoon building in the heart of Ipswich.

A planning application for a change of use of the historic building has been lodged with Ipswich council. It is expected to be discussed over the next few months.

The application, if approved, would see the premises open from 8am to 6pm from Mondays to Saturdays and from 9am to 5pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

It would employ 10 members of staff - five full-time and five part-time - and would operate over three floors.

The ground floor would have a patisserie counter near the entrance, with products on display in the windows.

There would be seating on the ground floor, basement and first floor of the site on the corner of Westgate Street and Museum Street.

A lift would also be installed, so customers with mobility problems would be able to access all three floors.

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The building, which dates from when Museum Street was developed in 1847, would look exactly the same from the outside. 

Many of its features would be retained to make it attractive to customers, although staircases would be widened to meet modern-day access requirements.

There have already been pre-application discussions with planners to try to ensure there are few problems when it is discussed by Ipswich council's planning and development committee.

The application has already been welcomed by Ipswich Central chairman Terry Baxter, who said it was exactly the kind of new development the town centre needs in order to encourage people to visit.

"While retail is important, it is things like that which will encourage people to spend more time in the town centre and make their visits more of an event," he said.

"A high-quality tea shop like this sounds just the kind of thing Ipswich town centre needs - and the location looks ideal.

"I look forward to seeing it open in the near future."

Westgate Street

The building was a restaurant specialising in pastries back in the 1890s. - Credit: David Kindred collection

The store has been empty since Monsoon closed two years ago. But its proposed use isn't a first for the building - back in the 1890s it was a busy restaurant with a PastryCook as seen in this picture from David Kindred's collection.