Superdrug closure part of trend as shops leave Ipswich’s Carr Street
- Credit: Archant
The departure of Superdrug from Carr Street in Ipswich is the just the latest departure from a shopping area that has seen business fall significantly over the last decade.
And while Carr Street used to be one of the busiest shopping areas of Ipswich, it is now seen very much as one of the secondary areas of the town centre - and is facing a very different future.
Over the last 10 years it has lost the former Co-op department store and Woolworths that used to be its anchor retailers.
Argos is due to close and move into share with Sainsbury's and Maplin has not been replaced after that company collapsed last year.
Clothing retailers Peacocks have been holding a "closing down sale" for months as they negotiate with their landlords.
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Woolworths was replaced by Poundland, and B&M moved into the former QD store, but overall the area has declined as a shopping street.
And that is not a matter of great concern for Ipswich Central, the organisation which represents businesses and aims to promote the heart of the town.
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Its chief executive, Paul Clement, said it was always going to be necessary to "shrink" the heart of the town centre - with Carr Street becoming a mixed area with retail, homes, and community uses.
He said: "That is why we are supportive of the proposals for a new school there and the new church (in the former Odeon). There will still be some retail there, but in the medium to long-term that will be a mixed area."
That element of the town centre - Carr Street, Upper Orwell Street, Tacket Street, and Fore Street - has the highest vacancy rate in Ipswich, about 15% of shop units are vacant.
Mr Clement said: "That is a fact of life and we need to be able to work to find a new role for these areas, based on residential and community use.
"The closure of the Superdrug was likely once the company moved into the large unit in the middle of Tavern Street.
"That was always going to replace the two stores at the opposite ends of the main street."
The former Co-op department store is due to be converted into a new free school once full funding from the Department for Education comes through, and the former shop floors above what is now Brighthouse are being converted into a new development of flats.