Ipswich: Town centre boost as Debenhams makes long term commitment

Debenhams, Ipswich

Debenhams, Ipswich

The largest store in the town centre has made a long-term commitment to stay on the Cornhill for decades to come.

Debenhams has signed a long-term lease to remain at its present location for many more decades – it is understood it is likely to run beyond the end of the current century.

The news was immediately seen as a massive vote of confidence in the town centre – and was welcomed by politicians and business leaders.

There are also hopes that new stores could soon be opening in the Tower Ramparts centre – the Star understands that Baldwin’s Store may be moving there when its lease in Upper Brook Street expires later this year.

But it is Debenhams news that has sparked the greatest interest.

Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement said: “Town centres up and down the Country are facing enormous challenges.

“In Ipswich, we have committed to ambitious changes.

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“This announcement by Ipswich’s biggest retailer confirms again that the town centre retail sector is alive and well.”

Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere said: “This is a major vote of confidence in the town centre – it shows that the town is attractive to major retailers like Debenhams.”

And the borough’s economic development spokeswoman Carole Jones said: “It’s great news. Hopefully it will spark a ripple effect through the town centre. If Debenhams want to commit to Ipswich then others will see it as a great place to be based.”

The company is not making any specific commitments for further major investment in the store – but it is expected that there will be major investment in the store over the next few years.

Store manager Neil Roberts said “Our store has a long history of success in Ipswich and today shows an important sign of our dedication to the town centre.

“The town centre will need to continue to change to keep up with the new demands of today’s consumer and we have now committed to taking an active part in that process for the longer term.”

The Ipswich Star is running the I Love Ipswich campaign to encourage people to get behind the town, support local businesses and help turn the town’s fortunes around.