Tesco opens new store in Ipswich town centre in August
- Credit: Paul Geater
Retail giant Tesco has confirmed that it is to open a new convenience store in the heart of Ipswich town centre in August.
The new Tesco Express store is being created in the old Croydon's building in Tavern Street that was occupied by Jack Wills until the start of the first lockdown in March last year.
Construction workers have been making major internal changes to the 1929-building, including removing the iconic staircase and opening up the ground floor.
Tesco confirmed its plans for the building as a spokesman said: “We’re excited to be opening a new Express on Tavern Street, Ipswich and we look forward to serving the local community when our doors open in August.”
It plans to announce an opening date over the next few weeks.
Ipswich Central chairman Terry Baxter welcomed the arrival and said it fitted in with the proposals for a "connected town centre."
He said: "We are looking to have more people living within easy walking distance of the town centre and this will give them more choice of where to do their daily shopping, especially after the closure of the Little Waitrose at the end of last year.
"It is also good to see a prominent building in the town centre brought back into use like this and I am sure it will be welcomed by the many people who live or work in the town centre."
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Ipswich Society chairman John Norman was less happy about the news: "I am disappointed by the loss of the staircase and other internal fittings in the shop - they seem to want to turn it into a sterile area to just do their own thing there.
"Tesco has a 25-year lease on the building. I think they saw Waitrose pull out and saw their opportunity.
"We would support the opening of another store like this in the town centre to support getting more people living in the town centre itself - but feel there are plenty of other units available without ripping out one of the most important buildings in the area."
Although the building is prominent and appears very old, it was actually built in 1929 and is not actually listed so changes do not require special planning permission.