Is anything happening at Ipswich’s former Toys R Us store?

Toys R Us at Copdock closed last April. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Toys R Us at Copdock closed last April. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Nearly 18 months after it closed its doors for the last time, there is still no sign of a future use for the huge Toys R Us store at Copdock on the edge of Ipswich.

The company that took over the management of many of the failed companies' sites last year has announced that it has sold five and found occupants for another nine sites - but there is still no one announced to take over the Ipswich store.

The management of the site was taken over by FI Real Estate Management (FIREM) last May after Toys R Us ceased trading at the end of April.

It is understood there was some interest in the site at Copdock from Marks and Spencer early this year - the company is understood to want to open another large out-of-town supermarket in the west Ipswich area to sit alongside its Simply Food store at Martlesham Heath.

However that proposal never took off because the Tesco Superstore which was the first retailer to open at Copdock Mill in the late 1980s has a covenant preventing any other major food store opening on the site.

At other locations FIREM has done deals with B&M (already on the Copdock Mill site), Lidl (a food store that would be prevented under the covenant), Smyths Toys and The Range (which are both on The Anglia Retail park only about five minutes away along the A14).

A spokeswoman for FIREM said the company was unable to give any more information about the future of the Ipswich store at this time.

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The store has its own car park off the main Exchange Retail Park at Copdock Mill - but its entrance is blocked off with concrete blocks to ensure no one can trespass in that area of the park.

The store remains a prominent landmark for traffic approaching Ipswich along the A12 from London and Essex.

At the time of the closure it was thought unlikely that the large retail warehouse would find a single occupier - although it could be split into two or three separate units in a similar way to the successful redevelopment of the Anglia Retail Park off Bury Road following the closure of the former huge B&Q store there.

But at present, the owners of the former Toys R Us at Ipswich have no firm deal announced to do anything with the store at the gateway to the town.