Ikea hoping to come to town
SWEDISH furniture giant Ikea could build a new store at the Crane engineering site in Ipswich, bringing a 500-plus jobs boost to the town.If a deal is struck, the store would bring much-needed employment to the area, which suffered a jobs blow before Christmas when Crane announced it had sold the 43-acre site for £18million.
SWEDISH furniture giant Ikea could build a new store at the Crane engineering site in Ipswich, bringing a 500-plus jobs boost to the town.
If a deal is struck, the store would bring much-needed employment to the area, which suffered a jobs blow before Christmas when Crane announced it had sold the 43-acre site for £18million.
The popular Scandinavian chain is said to be “very keen” on the site, seeing Ipswich as a preferred location in the region.
Crane Ltd plans to end its manufacturing operation in Ipswich, with the loss of more than 200 jobs, and move some of its processes to lower cost countries, and another UK site at Hitchin in Hertfordshire.
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It is leasing part of the site for up to two years, while it looks for an alternative site for its offices, which could be on part of the Nacton Road land.
Agents for Allied Property and Leisure Ltd, the site's new owners, pointed out the Ikea store would bring a jobs boost to the site.
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Robert Pomery, associate director at Chelmsford-based chartered town planners Andrew Martin Associates, said: “Ikea has approached the landowners with a view to siting a new store on part of the site.
“Ikea is very keen on the land and views Ipswich as their preferred location in the region. A store of this nature would employ hundreds of local people and act as a draw to the town as a whole.”
He pointed out that Ikea stores generally employ around 500 to 600 people, but he stressed that it was early days.
“We are a long way from a planning application or anything like that,” he said. “The company has expressed an interest and they like the site.”
No one from Ikea was available for comment.
Richard Atkins, Ipswich Council's planning and economic development spokesman, said: “The fact a company that isn't here yet is now looking at Ipswich is recognition of the growth of the town and the way the economy is moving.
“Anyone bringing new jobs to Ipswich - there is an interest in hearing about that.”
But he added: “There is a possible effect on what the traffic would be like coming off a fairly busy junction and that is something that would have to be looked at.”