Smyths toy store set to join Anglia Retail Park in Ipswich
The regeneration of a troubled retail park in Ipswich has been given a boost after toy retailer Smyths confirmed it was filling a unit – with around 250 jobs set to be created from the new developments.
Concerns had been raised in October last year when B&Q announced it would be closing its store in Anglia Retail Park, Bury Road, following sweeping cuts made by the DIY retailer across the county.
The park’s future looked bleak with Comet having gone under in 2012, and a number of other stores at the site having left.
Earlier this year, Bounce Trampoline Centres confirmed it would fill the B&Q store, and at an Ipswich Borough Council planning and development meeting last week both Smyths and the retail arm of Bounce were given the green light.
Carole Jones, planning portfolio-holder at Ipswich Borough Council, said: “We are pleased to see that confidence in this part of Ipswich is being translated into more investment and more jobs at Anglia Business Park. We wish the new businesses success and hope to see more investors follow their lead.”
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Planning permission had been granted for retail units in 1998, but a number of restrictions including clothing, footwear, jewellery, toys, sports goods, china and glass, kitchenware, pets and pet accessories, musical instruments, DVDs and CDs, pharmacy products and books and magazines, had been imposed.
However, the council has since relaxed the restrictions in a bid to attract more stores, prompting last week’s approval for Smyths and the retail arm of Bounce, stating in its reports that “there are no available units that are sequentially preferable.”
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It is not yet clear when work will begin, but the borough council yesterday said around 250 jobs were expected to be created between the two developments. The news eases fears that the site could be developed into a housing estate, had retailers not opted to fill the vacant units.
A spokesman from Smyths was unavailable for comment.