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Pret A Manger and new bank to move to Ipswich Cornhill landmark site

PUBLISHED: 09:27 04 August 2017 | UPDATED: 12:33 04 August 2017

The former Grimwades store that is being converted into a bank and probably a Pret A Manger takeaway. Picture: PAUL GEATER

The former Grimwades store that is being converted into a bank and probably a Pret A Manger takeaway. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Archant

The former Grimwades store on Ipswich Cornhill is expected to be split into two - and converted into a Pret A Manger and a bank.

Work to create the bank has already started, but the identity of the new occupant is not yet known.

That work does not require a change of use planning permission – the existing permission on the building covers use for retail banking.

However turning part of it into a Pret A Manger would require planning permission – conversion from a shop to a restaurant or takeaway does involve a change of use.

We understand informal talks have already taken place between representatives of Pret A Manger and officials from Ipswich council and other bodies about converting part of the building.

An application to convert the whole building into a large restaurant was turned down by the borough council last year – but it is understood officials are much more sympathetic to the application from Pret A Manger which would be seen as an asset to a revamped Cornhill.

Work to re-design the Cornhill should start in January and be completed by Christmas 2018. Eating outside will be encouraged there.

The bank would have to apply for permission for its signs and shopfront – but providing that is not out of place it is not expected to be an obstacle.

The store has not had a permanent tenant since Clinton Cards closed its branch there after it went into administration in 2012 – although there have been discount retailers there for short periods.

Ipswich Central chairman Terry Baxter said it was important to get long-term tenants to move into the store: “That is a prime site for the town centre and it would be good if it does attract major High Street names.”

Pret A Manger advertised for a manager for its Ipswich branch in July – but at that stage there was no indication of where it was hoping to open.

Although it is known primarily as a takeaway, most branches also have an area where food can be eaten – often on the first floor of their premises.

The former Grimwades store would be ideal for that as it was built on several storeys. It is not a listed building for planning purposes – although the frontage could be protected because it is on such a prominent site.

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