The Botanist set to open in September after council deal signed

The Old Post Office in Ipswich

The Botanist should open in the Old Post Office in Ipswich in September. - Credit: Katy Sandalls

The final contract for The Botanist restaurant to move into the Old Post Office building on Ipswich Cornhill has now been signed - and the company is aiming to have it open in September, well in time for the Christmas season.

A planning application for listed building consent to change the interior of the Old Post Office has been lodged with Ipswich Borough Council and planning officers are currently studying it.

It is expected to be discussed by members of the council's planning and development committee within the next few weeks - and providing it gets the go-ahead, work to prepare the restaurant should get underway.

The Botanist has already started recruiting staff for the new restaurant.

Old Post Office restoration

The Old Post Office has been externally restored. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Ipswich council - which owns the building - has already spent £1m on externally restoring the Old Post Office and ensuring it is protected for many years into the future.

But inside there is still a great deal to do, and it was always intended that the new tenant should take on that work.

The Botanist is known for its individual decor - and the Cheshire-based company has often opened new restaurants in landmark buildings that have a major presence on town and city high streets.

Colin Kreidewolf

Colin Kreidewolf welcomed the arrival of The Botanist. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Ipswich councillor Colin Kreidewolf was part of the negotiating team that brought The Botanist to the town.

He said: "This is fantastic news that after quite a long time everything has been agreed and that work can hopefully start quite soon.

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"We have been told that The Botanist hopes to be open by this September - that seems to be quite optimistic but from what they have said to us, that is clearly the timetable they are working to."

The Old Post Office has been empty for several years since Lloyds TSB and The Wharf pulled out - but because it was empty the council was able to get on with its external restoration work without causing any disruption for tenants.

When The Botanist does open, there could be some changes to the the market layout at the top of Princes Street - but no decisions have been made and Mr Kreidewolf said there would be full consultation with stallholders. However, no major changes even if some stalls did have to move a few metres.

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