Spoons World Buffet could become Ipswich’s largest restaurant later this year

The former pub and Iceland store that is to be converted into a buffet restaurant

The former pub and Iceland store that is to be converted into a buffet restaurant - Credit: Archant

A new buffet restaurant with hundreds of seats is set to open on one of the busiest junctions in town after it was finally given the go-ahead by Ipswich planners.

Proposals to convert the former Iceland store and Victoria pub on the junction of St Matthew’s Street and Civic Drive into a Spoons World Buffet were first unveiled last year.

It would have more than 300 seats and employ at least 20 full-time and 20 part-time staff.

When the planning application was first lodged in July last year proprietor Kevin Shen said that once permission was given it would take about five months to convert the building.

And he said the number of employees stated could be higher than that mentioned in the initial planning application.

The Ipswich restaurant would be similar to a buffet Mr Shen already has at Chatham in Kent.

That offers food from around the world including Chinese, Indian, Thai, Brazilian, European, and Japanese dishes.

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The application was originally due to be heard at the end of last year, but it was delayed for talks with planning officials and with local residents – there are flats very near including some on top of the restaurant itself.

It was finally discussed by Ipswich council’s planning and development committee this week and they gave planning permission after a debate about the disruption it would cause to neighbours.

The borough’s portfolio holder for planning Carole Jones said: “We were supportive of the fact that it will create jobs and provide a welcome new venue for a part of the town centre that can get overlooked.

“But there were concerns about the disruption for the people who live in the flats and we have insisted that the work is agreed by environmental health officers from the council to reduce disruption caused by noise or smells.

“But overall this will be a very welcome addition to the town.”

The site is only a short distance from the New Wolsey Theatre and the new Theatre Square development in front of that building that is due to be developed.

The final planning agreement for that was signed earlier this year and there is a condition that work should be completed within the next two years – including another new restaurant facing the entrance to the theatre itself.

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