VOTE: Disney, a pub or restaurant - What do you want to take over 'eyesore' store?
PUBLISHED: 16:30 29 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:38 29 July 2019
What would you like to see move into the former Poundworld store in Tavern Street, Ipswich?
Following news that the Ipswich Society has described it on their Facebook page as "possibly the biggest eyesore in Ipswich town centre today," shoppers have been expressing their views on what they would like to see move into the building.
The shop has been empty for a year, since it closed down in July 2018 after the single-price retail chain went into administration.
On Facebook, Tamisha Jordan said it would be "an ideal spot for a Disney shop" and also suggested "an attractive pub or restaurant" as another option.
Victoria Zamarutti also thought a restaurant would be a good fit, suggesting: "McDonald's could move there as it's bigger than their current restaurant, and would make it more easy for customers to navigate around at peak times."
And Maricel Vipond wanted to see a Crystal Maze experience move into the boarded-up former discount store.
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John Norman, chairman of the Ipswich Society, said: "The owners could make it more attractive, with the help of someone like Ipswich Central, for example by putting stickers on the windows, or by voluntary groups painting hoardings, as they have done on the Waterfront."
However, he said it was understandable that empty shops did board up their windows, not only to prevent vandalism but also to guard against pop-up shops moving in, particularly towards Christmas.
On the history of the site, Mr Norman said drapers Frederick Fish had been based there in the 19th century, and more recently Boots were there for many years. After Boots moved out, their shop was demolished and replaced by the current building, which was occupied by River Island and SpecSavers before Poundworld.
Looking more widely at the town centre, he said there were concerns over empty shops in Carr Street and now "creeping across the Great White Horse junction." However, he added: "Ipswich is not in a bad position compared with others - we still have Debenhams and Marks & Spencer department stores, and good footfall."
Ipswich Central chairman Terry Baxter did not wish to comment on the former Poundworld store specifically. But he said, as partners in Ipswich Vision, they were working with a number of key sites around the town. "We are looking at finding suitable tenants for them, and looking at a number of different options."
He added Ipswich Central had looked at methods which were being used in York to improve the appearance of unused buildings.
Mr Baxter said putting murals around empty shops was one way of improving their appearance, but added: "It's always entirely up to the landlord whether they're prepared to put anything up on their windows. It always has to be done in association with the owner of the property."
The lease of the building is currently being marketed by KLM Retail, who have been approached for comment.