Pret is no longer opening a shop in Ipswich

The Pret a Manger colours were added to the Grimwade's building in November Picture: KATY SANDALLS

The Pret a Manger colours were added to the Grimwade's building in November Picture: KATY SANDALLS - Credit: Archant

Popular sandwich chain Pret has confirmed it is no longer opening a store on Ipswich Cornhill.

Work at the former Grimwade’s store in the town centre had been stepped up in the weeks before Christmas – with the company’s statement burgundy paint going up in November.

However, activity at the site had stalled in the last month with builders nowhere to be seen.

Now Pret bosses have said they will no longer be opening a branch in Ipswich.

“We are sorry to confirm that we will no longer be opening a Pret on Cornhill,” a spokesman said.

“Whilst there are no plans to open a Pret shop in Ipswich currently, we constantly review opportunities for new shop openings.”

They also said Pret – recently taken over by global investment firm JAB – had been reassessing areas of the business and that this particular store was no longer a priority.

Plans had been made to ensure Pret’s doors faced the new ‘Four Gateways’ art installation at the revamped Cornhill.

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Recent developments in the town centre came six years after retail giant Sir Stuart Rose branded the area “the most depressing place I have ever seen”.

He revisited recently and noted vast improvements.

Reacting to today’s news, Ipswich Vision chairman Terry Hunt said: “Clearly it is disappointing news.

“Pret was an ideal use for that iconic, prominent building and now the Vision board and its partners will obviously redouble its efforts to find a suitable occupant for that corner of the Cornhill, as well as the Old Post Office and the former Golden Lion.

“The work that has been done on the Cornhill is the part of the story, the rest of the story is to find exciting uses for these buildings and to deliver a programme of events to bring the Cornhill to life.”

Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere also expressed his disappointment.

“We understand that there has been a national change in direction because Pret was bought by JAB last year, and they have changed the focus of Pret and there is now less money available for new store openings,” he said.

“It is disappointing and highlights just how tough the retail and leisure sector is, especially in town centres.

“Ipswich Borough Council will be working with Ipswich Vision and all the relevant partners to support the owners of the former Grimwade’s building.”

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