What is next for the former Ipswich Argos store?
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Argos announced it was closing its Carr Street store almost 12 months ago – with plans now in the pipeline to completely transform the firm’s former premises in Ipswich.
The retail giant revealed it would be closing its town centre shop back in June 2019, following the worst May on record for British high streets – with BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker (HSST) measuring a 3.3% drop in sales.
Today, the huge premises in Carr Street remains unchanged, with a ‘we have moved house’ sign in its windows directing customers to the Sainsbury’s in Upper Brook Street, where its new home can be found.
Plans in the pipeline
Meanwhile, the owners of the Carr Street building are hoping to convert the space into flats and a gym, if a planning application submitted to the borough council is approved.
HD Investments (Ipswich) Ltd submitted an application on March 30 this year, which could see the current building remodelled above the ground floor.
The plans – which were drawn up by Colchester company B3 Architects – show the former public area of the shop being retained as a retail unit, but the large area behind it being converted into a gym.
The upper floors would be substantially changed to create 22 new flats – eight with one bedroom and 14 with two bedrooms. The flats would share a rooftop garden on top of part of the shop and gym.
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Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere said the council’s planning and development committee would discuss the plans later in the year – so no changes are expected to be made for some time.
He said: “Whatever the committee decides, I fear it will be some time before we see anything major on that site, given the current state that we all find ourselves in.”
The plans – which developers discussed with the borough council prior to submitting – are part of a long-term proposal for Carr Street to become a more mixed area, rather than just relying on retail.
Where is Argos now?
Retail giant Argos was taken over by Sainsbury’s in 2016 – shutting up to 70 standalone Argos shops and opening around 80 within its supermarkets across the UK.
In Ipswich, an Argos branch is now available inside the Upper Brook Street Sainsbury’s store, which has continued serving customers throughout the coronavirus lockdown period.
Argos, which has redeployed all of its customers from the former Carr Street shop, remains open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and 10.30am to 4.30pm on Sundays.
Earlier this year, Ipswich drumming sensation Nandi Bushell “rocked out” at Argos’ launch party at its new home.
The drumming star, who has more than 400,000 followers on Instagram and previously hit the headlines when she appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show, performed a one-off gig to celebrate the new Argos store.