Ipswich: Work on new shopping hub begins

Work on the project that includes a John Lewis At Home store has started on the edge of town.

Preliminary work has started at the Crane Engineering site off Ransomes Way – and bosses at the retail giant hope that the new Waitrose and John Lewis At Home store should open on target next spring.

A spokesman for Waitrose said the project was on schedule: “The first work started on the ground over the last few days.

“There is not a great deal to see yet, but it is a significant step forward in the development,” he said.

The Waitrose and John Lewis At Home development is just part of the project to re-use the site of the former Crane Engineering site.

The masterplan for the site envisages another non-food superstore to be built there along with industrial and office units – the entire site could take several years to develop.

Meanwhile work on the new Tesco store in Grafton Way is not now expected to start until August or September – the company had originally hoped to get underway in the early summer.

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A spokeswoman for Tesco said: “We remain committed to building the new development on Grafton Way in Ipswich and look forward to delivering the jobs, homes and better shopping choice it will bring people in Ipswich.

“While we remain fully committed to the plans, we are currently reviewing the design to make sure it offers the best service for our new customers. Therefore, we can’t set an exact start date yet.”

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer was encouraged by the new developments. He said: “It is great news that work has started on the first John Lewis store to be built in Suffolk.

“That is a major boost for the town – and it is also good to know that Tesco is still working on its plans for Grafton Way. That is a major development for the town centre and the Waterfront and one that is very much needed.”

Are you looking forward to the arrival of John Lewis? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk

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