Pret a Manger set to open new restaurant on Ipswich Cornhill next year

The former Grimwades store is set to become a Pret a Manger after the takeaway giant lodged a planni

The former Grimwades store is set to become a Pret a Manger after the takeaway giant lodged a planning application with the borough council. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Takeaway giant Pret a Manger is expected to open a new branch in the heart of Ipswich next year after applying for permission to move into part of the old Grimwades store.

Discussions have been taking place for several months for the national food chain to come to Ipswich – and it advertised for new management staff for Ipswich back in the summer.

It was understood for some time that the former department store was their preferred site, but now the company has formally lodged a planning application with the borough council.

This would see the ground floor set up as a takeaway food store using the existing corner doors. There would be a small number of tables for people to eat inside on the ground floor – but more space on the first floor. In total, there would be tables for 140 people to eat.

The application has been widely welcomed.

Terry Hunt, the chairman of the Ipswich Vision Partnership which brings together businesses, Ipswich Central, local authorities, and other bodies, said it should be a real boost for the town centre.

He said: “We have known Pret wanted to come to Ipswich for some time, but it is great news that they have finally lodged the application.

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“That site has been empty, or occupied by short-term tenants, for far too long and it is one of the most important sites in the town. It is very good news that it will be home to such a well-known name as Pret.

“With the redevelopment of the Cornhill due to take place next year, it looks like the ideal place for the ideal business. It is really great news.”

The application is expected to be discussed by Ipswich council’s planning and development committee towards the end of the year.

Carole Jones, planning portfolio-holder, said: “I am looking forward to this coming to committee. Without predetermining the application, I do welcome it in principle as it would represent a good use for one of the town centre’s most iconic buildings. “This application also sends the message that Ipswich can and does attract quality retail and leisure operators, and the Borough Council will continue in its efforts to enhance the town centre as a shopping destination.

“We all need to support our local shops and businesses, and I hope if the Pret application is approved, it will strengthen our town centre offer.”