John Lewis could be just 15 months away
IPSWICH: The town could have a second Waitrose and a John Lewis ‘At Home’ store by the spring of 2013 if the borough follows its officers’ recommendations.
Councillors are discuss proposals to build the huge new store opposite The Sandlings retail park on Ransomes Way at their meeting next Wednesday.
And planning officials are recommending that they should give the go-ahead for the development on what is part of the former Crane Engineering site.
The application also includes proposals to eventually develop the rest of the Crane site, stretching as far as Nacton Road, for business use.
The site was originally allocated for “employment” use, but the officers are recommending that the John Lewis proposal should be allowed.
The large Waitrose will dwarf the town centre store currently being developed in the ground floor of the Corn Exchange. A spokesman for the company said if councillors did follow the advice of their officers, officials from the developers would hope to sort out all the loose ends to allow work to start in the spring.
The stores themselves should then be open 12 months later, in early 2013.
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Waitrose director of development Nigel Keen said: “We realise there is still a long way to go, however we are delighted the planning officer shares our confidence that the proposal for Ransomes Way will deliver real benefits to Ipswich. We hope the recommendation brings us closer to realising a long-standing ambition to have a full size Waitrose store and a John Lewis at home in the town.
“By bringing a derelict site back into use, we can create hundreds of jobs for local people and hopefully encourage even more businesses to invest in the town.
“We take nothing for granted and would encourage any one who would like to see the scheme happen to make their voice heard.”