Ipswich: Film theatre bosses warn over store bid

Ipswich: Theatre bosses fear the future of a thriving independent cinema could be threatened if a supermarket wins its bid to open in the town.

Upmarket chain Waitrose wants to open a 3,000sq ft shop in the Corn Exchange, also home to Ipswich Film Theatre (IFT).

The plans are part of a major investment in Ipswich by the group, which also wants to open a 70,000sq ft John Lewis store in Nacton Road.

IFT director Dave Gregory said noise from the new shop in central Ipswich could disturb film showings.

The IFT is sending in a letter of objection to the proposal.

“We have got an enthusiastic team of volunteers, we’re run for and by the local community and we’re worried the Waitrose development could threaten that,” said Mr Gregory.

“We don’t think our audience or the people of Ipswich want this.

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“It certainly could threaten the future of the film theatre.

“It took us a long time to persuade the council to let us open there and since then we have gone from strength to strength.”

The supermarket’s plans, which were submitted to Ipswich Borough Council (IBC) last month, involve putting a new store on the ground floor of the building.

The store, if approved, would create 40 jobs and will be located in the space currently occupied by Gatsby’s Bar.

A Waitrose spokeswoman said: “This area of the Corn Exchange had been put on the market by Ipswich Borough Council to attract a new tenant.

“We are committed to working alongside local organisations and businesses and would welcome the chance to play our part in ensuring the Exchange remains a vibrant destination for both shoppers and theatre goers.

“If we receive planning consent we would be delighted to meet with the theatre to discuss how we can best work together.”

n What do you think of Waitrose’s plans? Write to: Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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