Woolies still calling the tune

HOPES of building a new £70 million shopping centre in the heart of Ipswich still rest on the future of one of the biggest stores in town.As revealed by The Evening Star in July, Woolworths is refusing to consider taking part in the Mint Quarter development which is proposed to be built between Carr Street and Tacket Street.

By Paul Geater

HOPES of building a new £70 million shopping centre in the heart of Ipswich still rest on the future of one of the biggest stores in town.

As revealed by The Evening Star in July, Woolworths is refusing to consider taking part in the Mint Quarter development which is proposed to be built between Carr Street and Tacket Street.

The developers behind the scheme now say they are preparing to submit a detailed planning application to Ipswich Borough Council on the long-awaited Mint Quarter project to the council next spring.

But in July they had hoped the plans would be available by Christmas and when it was first proposed in 2000 they had hoped the plans would be drawn up during 2001.

The 1.4 million square foot complex would be built on land bounded by Tacket Street, Upper Brook Street, Upper Orwell Street and Carr Street.

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It includes proposals for a 695-space car park, restaurants, a health and fitness centre and retail space equivalent to more than five football pitches.

Developer Helical Retail, which is working with landowners National Car Parks on the project, says it has talked with stores about becoming "anchor" tenants in the development.

But without an agreement from Woolworths, which would occupy the largest unit in the development, it cannot go ahead.

NCP owns the freehold of the Woolworths store in Carr Street, and technically could give its tenants six months' notice to quit.

But both NCP and Helical are unwilling to upset the store that would be vital for the success of the new shopping centre.

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