Waitrose keen on coming to town

AN UPMARKET food chain is looking to set up a store in Ipswich but has not found a site yet, it was revealed today.A spokesman for Waitrose said that although the company is keen to bring the shop to the town, no concrete plans have been made as they are still searching for an appropriate location.

AN UPMARKET food chain is looking to set up a store in Ipswich but has not found a site yet, it was revealed today.

A spokesman for Waitrose said that although the company is keen to bring the shop to the town, no concrete plans have been made as they are still searching for an appropriate location.

It has previously been reported that developers Turnstone were believed to be in discussions with Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Asda about the possibly of a 38,000 sq ft anchor store at Ipswich's new Westgate Centre - the town's former Civic Centre.

The £50million development would also include landscaped walkways, a restaurant and large public space.

The spokesman for Waitrose said: “We are extremely keen to bring Waitrose to Ipswich, however, we do not have a specific site at this time. We are working hard to find a location that will not only be commercially viable, but will enable us to have a long term positive effect on the local community.”

However James Hehir, chief executive of Ipswich Borough Council, said he expected a Waitrose to be in place “reasonably quickly”.

Most Read

He said: “We have been dealing with them [Waitrose] for some time and they have told us that they have a 'strong commitment' to coming to Ipswich.

“I know the site they are looking at but because of rules regarding competition I am unable to say where it might be.

“There is no official timeframe and it is hard to say but I expect it to happen reasonably quickly. It's a very positive step for Ipswich.

“We are trying to improve retail in the town and with plans for Glasswells and the Westgate Centre I am sure it will be. In the current economic climate it makes a nice change.”

Elizabeth Harsant, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said: “It would be wonderful - if it happens then I am sure we will all be thrilled.”

Waitrose - which is part of the John Lewis Partnership - is the UK's sixth largest grocer, with 193 branches nationwide.

Do you like the idea of having a Waitrose store in town? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk