Garden centre relocation could see Marks & Spencer expand Martlesham store
The relocation of a Martlesham garden centre, which had been facing closure, could pave the way for Marks and Spencer to expand its neighbouring store significantly.
The Ling’s Garden Store in Beardmore Park is set to move at the end of this month after a “substantial increase in rent”, but the move could also lead to an opportunity for the M&S food store to expand.
Clive Turner, manager at Ling’s, said: “In a nutshell they [site owners Londonmetric Saturn Ltd] were going to increase rent quite substantially.”
Mr Turner said the rental increase means the garden centre will have to leave the premises by the end of the month.
While the independent business has secured a new site in Hawkers Drive, the building is currently registered with the district council as office space, and requires planners to approve a change of use to a retail outlet.
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But while the store is left with having to make a hasty move, bosses have breathed a sigh of relief that the store will continue and the 11 workers’ jobs will remain safe.
“We are now in the process of taking down displays because we have got to get out pretty quickly, but we are probably looking at two to three weeks before we can get in there,” Mr Turner added.
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“If we hadn’t found a unit pretty quickly there could have been a potential loss [of jobs], but we have got a unit lined up – these things just take a bit of time.”
Marks & Spencer is understood to have expressed an interest in expanding its existing food store to include clothing, home and beauty products, which could be made possible by neighbouring Brantano shoe shop having recently gone into administration, and the relocation of Ling’s – meaning both units will be vacant.
Despite requests from the Ipswich Star, both M&S and Londonmetric Saturn Ltd declined to comment on any potential plans for expansion of the store.