New convenience store likely to be included in Ipswich Winerack

Ipswich Waterfront - with the Winerack building at its centre. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Ipswich Waterfront - with the Winerack building at its centre. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

People living in the Waterfront area of Ipswich could have a new convenience store selling basic essentials when the long-awaited development of the Winerack is completed.

When the scheme was originally proposed by City Living back in 2006 the ground floor of the block was designed as a new home for the Red Rose Theatre Chain – the Witchbottle Theatre.

However when City Living went into administration in 2008 and work on the project stopped, the theatre group looked for a new home and is now based at Gippeswyck Hall near Ipswich station.

Now Ipswich Council has received a planning application asking for the permission for the Winerack to be amended so it includes a convenience store rather than a 250-seat theatre on the ground floor.

The new store would face on to Key Street, nearly opposite Quay Place, which opened in St Mary at Quay church last year.

The store would be very much aimed at people who live or work in the Waterfront area – it would only have three parking spaces for people with disabled badges but it would have space for cycles.

And the applicant, Ipswich Wharf Developments Ltd, does not believe it will be large enough to threaten the town centre.

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The application says: “The unit, while larger than a small ‘corner shop’ type business, is not comparable to a supermarket. On this basis we do not expect the retail unit to attract users from outside the immediate catchment area.

“This will prevent trade being drawn from the town centre and thus will not impact on its vitality or viability.”

The application also points out there are several theatres within walking distance in the town centre area – and when Red Rose Theatre Chain moved to Gippeswyck Hall and obtained a grant to build a new theatre there in 2012 they made it clear that they were not planning to move to the Waterfront.

The application has now been lodged with Ipswich council’s planning department and is expected to be considered by the authority’s planning and development committee later in the year.

Developer John Howard said in September that he expects to start building on the Winerack site in January next year and is discussing the final details of the construction with builders.

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