Ipswich: Green light for Tesco - finally

JUST days after Waitrose firmed up its plans to move to town, Tesco has been given the final green light for its new superstore in Grafton Way, it emerged today.

The retail giant is now about to start construction work on the site – and the store could be open early next year.

The �70million development which also includes hotels, flats and other retail units was deeply controversial before it was approved by Ipswich planners last March.The company will make improvements to the road network and to footpaths and pavements linking the site, opposite Cardinal Park, with the town centre.

The application had been opposed by other retailers in the town, and the Ipswich Central partnership, who were concerned that the edge-of-centre development could draw shoppers away from the heart of Ipswich. However, arguments that Tesco would regenerate a run-down area near the town centre won the day.

Ipswich Central accepted they had lost that battle and have not wanted to comment further on the Tesco proposal.

A spokeswoman for Tesco said work should start on the site within weeks. The first stage would involve clearing existing buildings including the former B&Q store.

It was hoped to complete the project by the end of next year, although the superstore itself could open earlier in 2012 as part of the first phase of the development.

Most Read

Originally the company had hoped to start work last autumn and have the superstore open by Christmas this year. However, that seems over-ambitious.

While it is sometimes possible to build a supermarket from scratch in a few months – such as the new Asda on Stoke Park – the Grafton Way project is larger and more complex and is unlikely to be completed in such a short timescale.

Ipswich could be celebrating a shopping bonanza next year. The news about Tesco comes in the same week that Waitrose confirmed it hopes to open two stores in the town, and one of these could include elements of a John Lewis department store.

Tesco, however, is far further down the line than Waitrose and seems likely to be the first chain to open a new superstore in the town.

n Will the new Tesco be good for Ipswich? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk