Ipswich Starbucks understood to be closing its doors

Ipswich Starbucks could be closing Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

Ipswich Starbucks could be closing Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY - Credit: Archant

Ipswich town centre looks like it is set to lose a popular coffee shop, as customers of the Starbucks unit in the Great White Horse Hotel have been told it is closing down.

Plans were approved in May last year for the coffee shop to expand into the first floor of the iconic Tavern Street building, which features in Charles Dickens’s classic novel The Pickwick Papers.

However, now it is understood that the expansion, which had been due to be part of a larger development, will not go ahead after all, and the cafe will be closing at the end of September.

Another Starbucks coffee shop in the Buttermarket Centre closed down in 2015, before the shopping centre was redeveloped. But the chain still has cafes at the rail station and in Ipswich Cineworld and a drive-through in West End Road,

Coffee shop regulars have been voicing their dismay at reports of the closure on social media.

Will you miss the coffee shop? Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

Will you miss the coffee shop? Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY - Credit: Archant

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On the Ipswich Star Facebook page, Jack Roberts said: “Manager was great and this place will be missed. We miss you already.”

And on the Ipswich Society Facebook page, Nicola Barter commented: “Oh my, no Starbucks anywhere in town now.”

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However, other social media users said the town had many other coffee shops.

Tim Leggett, PR spokesman for the Ipswich Society, said: “The town centre does have a lot of coffee shops, so it would maybe be better to see something else filling the space on this prime site rather than a coffee shop.”

Starbucks in Ipswich town centre Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

Starbucks in Ipswich town centre Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY - Credit: Archant

The application for the building approved last year also included plans for the unused upper floors to be transformed into a range of new start-up units and the rear courtyard turned into residential flats.

Work is currently being carried out to turn the former Groove nightclub next to the Great White Horse, in Northgate Street, into a new “easyHotel”, a £5million project which is also set to include a coffee shop.

The Great White Horse Hotel is a grade II listed building, parts of which date back to the 16th century, although much of the exterior was rebuilt in the late Georgian period and early 19th century. Dickens stayed there in 1835 and there is a blue plaque to him on the building.

Nobody from the Starbucks press office was available to comment.

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