'Times are changing' - Could this water park rival the high street?
PUBLISHED: 19:30 17 June 2019
A barber who has moved his operations out of Ipswich to Suffolk Water Park has spoken of his ambitious plans to see the fishing lake become a new business hub.
Spelling out his vision for the site, Franco's Barbers owner Gianni Falcucci has revealed he feels the leisure park, in Bramford, could become an alternative destination to the county's town centres.
Already home to one of Suffolk's best loved breakfast bars - the Waterfront Diner - the site has quickly become more than just a go-to for anglers.
Mr Falcucci, who closed his business in Upper Orwell Street in Ipswich on Saturday, said the lure of potential plans at the park were too good to resist.
"We'd love to see more businesses come here," he said. "There is so much space here and it could be a great alternative for families.
"Families can come here and enjoy everything the park has to offer and not have to worry about issues like security, and there would be no parking problems either.
"You don't have to pay for parking like you would in a town centre."
As part of the plans, businesses selling Suffolk-grown and manufactured goods would be invited to occupy wooden units on the land.
Mr Falcucci added: "Think about it - we could have bakers, greengrocers, butchers - the heart of a true town centre all in one place.
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"Times are changing, businesses are moving out of town centres and they are becoming more residential. It makes good business sense.
"I want to see market stalls here every month, too. We have so much space."
Park manager Stuart Mill said he is confident about its future, adding that with 300 acres on site, the possibilities are "exciting".
Staff at the diner, which has become very busy at weekends, also welcomed the idea of extra customers pouring through their doors.
"This is the best thing about it," Mr Falcucci said. "We will all benefit from having more people visit the site.
"I have big groups booking haircuts, going for breakfast and then going for a spot of fishing - what a brilliant day out."
"People already come from far and wide for breakfast and to go fishing, so why shouldn't we offer people more?"
- Do you think the water park could provide an alternative destination to Ipswich town centre?
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