Ipswich: Readers back discount store B&M in battle with borough that has reignited retail park v town centre debate

B&M Homestore at Ransomes Europark,Ipswich.

B&M Homestore at Ransomes Europark,Ipswich. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Star readers have backed discount retailer B&M in its battle with the borough to carry on selling a wide variety of goods from its store on Ransomes Euro Retail park.

However the planning application to decide whether to relax planning restrictions on the store is unlikely to be decided at Wednesday’s meeting of the council’s planning and development committee.

Hundreds of readers took part in our webpoll on whether B&M should be allowed to trade from an out-of-town site – with two thirds of them saying it should be allowed to continue to trade as it is currently from a retail park.

The result did not impress borough council leader David Ellesmere who said he had not encountered much support for out-of-town shopping during campaigning in Ipswich.

He said: “I’ve been knocking on doors every day as part of the election campaign, and I have to say I haven’t had anyone saying they want to see more out of town shops. They want us to protect and enhance the town centre – and that is what we are trying to do.”

The discount retailer, whose chairman is former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy, took over the former Next store on the retail park last year.

However there is a condition that stores trading there can only sell bulky goods – or 10% non-bulky goods if they are associated with their main stock.

The company had put in a planning application to relax this condition, but there was a firm recommendation from officers that this should be rejected in a bid to safeguard the viability of the town centre.

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