Town centre revival hope as retailers eye up empty shops in Ipswich

Pictured: Paul Clement, Ipswich Central, and David Ellesmere, Ipswich Borough Council leader. 

There is hope for Ipswich town centre in 2022. Pictured: Paul Clement, Ipswich Central, and David Ellesmere, Ipswich Borough Council leader. - Credit: Archant

There are hopes of a town centre revival this new year as retailers eye up some of Ipswich's empty shops.

Many high street names exited the town last year including Debenhams, Topshop and Lakeland but borough council leader David Ellesmere has revealed 2022 has started on  a much more positive note.

He said several retailers have been in discussions over empty units in the town, and there are rumours of another indoor market-style centre, similar to the Ipswich Microshops, in the heart of the town.

Microshops moved in to the old Peacocks site in Carr Street last year and has brought 15 starts ups to the town, offering a range of food, drink, hand made gifts and games.

The centre even held a Christmas market during the festive build up.

Shoppers in Ipswich town centre. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Christmas shopping in Ipswich town centre - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Mr Ellesmere was cautious over which sites could soon be given a new lease of life, but said: "There is interest from new operators that have never been in the town centre in vacant properties. 

"There is a lot of negotiations going on and we are hopeful it will be more positive this year versus last year."

Mr Ellesmere added there was already signs of change at the Cornhill with the cocktail restaurant The Botanist opening soon, and the new Deichmann shoe shop taking over the former Burtons and Dorothy Perkins unit just before the third lockdown. 

Other new arrivals in the town centre include Tesco Express and House of Tweed in Tavern Street, Geek Retreat in Upper Brook Street, The Moloko in Lion Street, and Waffles and More in Carr Street.

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The Ipswich leader added: "We have worked closely with The Botanist and they were looking at it before Covid and have stayed through the whole process. 

"We are happy to work with any retailers that are interested to help bring them to Ipswich."

Paul Clement, from Ipswich Central, confirmed they are still committed to their connected town strategy, bringing a mix of retail, housing, leisure and services to the centre of Ipswich to make it a real hub. 

He said: "We need a new style town centre built around people living and businesses that serve their everyday needs."

Ipswich Central is planning to increase the connectivity of the town. This could involve free WiFi, and loyalty and gift card schemes.

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