Decision on Spoons World Buffet to fill former Iceland in Ipswich town centre due by Christmas

Former Iceland and Queens Head buildings that will be turned into a Buffett restaurant.

Former Iceland and Queens Head buildings that will be turned into a Buffett restaurant.

Fresh plans to turn the derelict Iceland store in St Matthew’s Street into Ipswich’s largest restaurant have been submitted this week – with a decision on the scheme due before Christmas.

Earlier this year, an application was lodged by Kent-based firm Mighty Rhino Ltd to open a Spoon World Buffet restaurant in the former Iceland and Victoria pub units.

But after a discrepancy over a technicality, a fresh application for a change of use from retail and clinic to restaurant was submitted on Monday.

Architects Proietti Design stated in the application documents: “Both sites have been vacant for quite some time now. It is our belief that an A3 [restaurant] use will inject new life and money into the area which can only be seen as a benefit.

“The proposed A3 business will naturally have an obligation to maintain the site and its surroundings as it will have a direct economical effect towards the business.

“It is our opinion that the A3 use will be a much-needed investment in the area and will revitalise the town centre. New employment opportunities will arise which will benefit the local community.”

If plans are given the green light, the restaurant will cater for 336 customers to become Ipswich’s biggest eaterie, and it is expected to create at least 20 full-time jobs and 20 part-time roles.

An Ipswich Borough Council spokesman said that no recommendation had been given by planners as yet, but it would be discussed by the planning committee before Christmas.

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Spoon World Buffet opened in 2004 in Chatham, Kent, before expanding in 2011, with the firm expecting renovation of the site to take around five months.

The plans follow recent investments by a host of restaurant chains in empty shop units, including Love Thy Burger in Westgate Street, while Cosy Club, Byron Burger, Wagamama, Prezzo and Coast to Coast all opened in the revamped Buttermarket earlier this year.