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East Anglia Future 50

'Town is getting very quiet' - Fears grow as more Ipswich shops reveal closure plans

PUBLISHED: 16:42 15 May 2019

Concerns have been raised about Ipswich town centre following a series of shop closures. Photo: Archant.

Concerns have been raised about Ipswich town centre following a series of shop closures. Photo: Archant.

Archant

Concerns have been raised about the future of Ipswich's town centre after three stores have revealed they would be closing down in the past fortnight.

William White. Photo: Archant.William White. Photo: Archant.

This month has already seen Riley & Riley Jewellers in Buttermarket, Trespass in Westgate Street and Ohh Deer in Thoroughfare announce plans to shut for good.

Elsewhere, the long term future of stores such as Select and Peacocks remain unclear, due to financial difficulties and rent negotiations respectively.

And while there are glimmers of hope, such as Honey + Harvey's announcement it would be taking over the former site of Mambos Bar and Grill, some shoppers are worried about what the future may hold.

Alan Reyner of Twist 'n' Shout. Photo: Archant.Alan Reyner of Twist 'n' Shout. Photo: Archant.

William White has lived in Ipswich all his life and visits the town centre every day to meet friends and go shopping.

"I've noticed the town is getting very quiet lately", the 87-year-old said, "all the crowds are gone.

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"It's going down hill - all the classic shops are closing down and all the cheap shops are coming up. I'm worried, it's not improving the town at all."

Concerns have been raised about Ipswich town centre following a series of shop closures. Photo: Archant.Concerns have been raised about Ipswich town centre following a series of shop closures. Photo: Archant.

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"I can't see any future at the minute, some people are trying but they don't seem to last very long."

Both Riley & Riley and Ohh Deer previously pointed to a lack of footfall as contributing factors to their closures.

Concerns have been raised about Ipswich town centre following a series of shop closures. Photo: Archant. AConcerns have been raised about Ipswich town centre following a series of shop closures. Photo: Archant. A

But Alan Reyner, who has run Twist 'n' Shout clothing store in Buttermarket for nine years, is quick to point out the majority of closures are simply part of a national trend.

"It's nothing to do with Ipswich," he said, "When BHS closed it was nothing to do with Ipswich, when Woolworths closed it was nothing to do with Ipswich and now Trespass - it's nothing to do with Ipswich.

"It's part of a national trend that affects everyone. If people never go out of Ipswich they tend to put their own town down but it's no different elsewhere."

Concerns have been raised about Ipswich town centre following a series of shop closures. Photo: Archant.Concerns have been raised about Ipswich town centre following a series of shop closures. Photo: Archant.

He added: "It will recover it just takes time. It's all about footfall and the quality of the footfall.

"We need more magnet shops, something upmarket which attracts people to the town and less charity shops, coffee shops and barbers.

"If you look at the positive side in the past few years Jack Wills and Hotel Chocolat have opened up and Superdry is coming."

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