New retail park in Ipswich gets go ahead
- Credit: DAVID CLARKE ASSOCIATES
Plans to revamp a former dairy factory into new retail and leisure facilities have been given the green light - and could create up to 170 jobs.
The East of England Co-op submitted a bid to carve up its existing distribution warehouse at Boss Hall Business Park into three units - two commercial and one leisure unit.
The land occupied by the former Dairy Crest factory, which has already been knocked down after being empty since 2012, will then be developed for retail stores and a gym.
The plans had been delayed over concerns that the warehouse had not been marketed as a single facility, but agents Boyer submitted evidence that there was not demand for one unit there.
Further work on designs will now get under way and be presented for approval in the next six to 12 months.
Nick Denny, Co-op joint chief executive, said: "It's a really important site that's going to create employment, and that's something we want to see happen.
"We are delighted the planning committee voted in favour of it and it shows the strength of our work with the borough.
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"Rather than having redundant buildings sitting there with the associated problems, what we are going to be doing is creating new buildings, employment opportunities and a better environment."
While the distribution warehouse is currently still in use, the Co-op confirmed it would close in October this year and staff either be redeployed or offered redundancy.
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No tenants for the new units have been lined up yet but it is understood a cheerleading academy has already expressed an interest, while the Co-op has existing relationships with other gyms and retailers at other sites like Rosehill.
It is expected to create up to 170 jobs once completed.
Councillor Carole Jones, planning committee member and portfolio holder for planning at Ipswich Borough Council, said: "There were concerns about the evidence base for the distribution centre.
"I wanted to be able to approve this application last time but there were questions that weren't fully answered.
"I am satisfied by the evidence that has been provided by Boyer and Fenn Wright.
"I am pleased to see the CGI about the street scene in Sproughton Road visualised, so I am pleased to see this go ahead - I welcome this."