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Former Browne's shop in Ipswich town centre set to become restaurant

PUBLISHED: 09:00 06 October 2016

Brownes Shop Closed

Brownes Shop Closed

Archant

A former family-run clothes shop in Ipswich which was at the heart of the town centre for 80 years is poised to get a new lease of life as a restaurant.

The Browne’s Menswear & The Dress Room in Upper Brook Street had been run by three generations of the same family before closing its doors for the final time in August last year.

But now, a planning application to change the Grade II listed unit into a restaurant has been lodged with Ipswich Borough Council, after more than a year as a vacant store.

Architect Robert Allerton said: “The property has been on the market for quite a while and people aren’t looking for that style of retail shop in that location.

“This is a very narrow unit with very little frontage so is probably perfect for a restaurant.”

Mr Allerton pointed to the surge in online sales as having hit independent shops hardest, meaning small units such as the former Browne’s store are becoming less desirable for retailers.

The application added: “This has very negative appeal to retailers as the shop window is by necessity very small. A wide and shallow retail unit is infinitely more appealing to retailers to allow display of their wares rather than the narrow and deep as is the case here.”

While no specific restaurant has been lined up to take over the unit yet, an application for change of use and listed building consent has been lodged, and is set to go before planners by the end of November.

Mr Allerton added: “We are trying to keep the building going within Ipswich and get a good owner for a restaurant, which will be really nice.

“The building has quirks and interest and its fabric can be brought back to life when retail paraphernalia is stripped away.

“The change will enhance the listing and bring a building back to life from its current state.

“Planners are reasonably optimistic – it’s a listed building and they lend themselves to restaurant use.”

What do you think of the plans? Write to Starletters@archant.co.uk or Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook St, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email newsroom@archant.co.uk.

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