Work on Primark expansion in Ipswich nears completion and heralds start of major revamp in town centre

Primark Ipswich

Primark Ipswich

Some of the largest retailers in the heart of Ipswich are planning a multi-million pound investment in the town centre, MP Ben Gummer says today.

The MP says millions of pounds will be heading to town over the next 18 months – and the investment has already started as Primark’s expansion in Westgate Street nears completion.

Mr Gummer said: “On this occasion I’m not talking about new names coming in, although there are several interested in the town, this is all about existing firms showing confidence in our town centre and in the people who are working hard to make it an attractive place for businesses and shoppers.”

Writing for his column, he added: “Yesterday we had the great news confirmed by the developer of the Buttermarket, Ken Ford, that Byron Burger, Wagamama, Coast to Coast, Prezzo and Cosy Club are all coming to the newly invigorated centre.

“I have known about the possibility of Byron for nearly a year and have been bursting to tell everyone, but have had to keep it tight. With the investment Ken has brought here, he has done more to help our town centre than scores of former councillors or my MP predecessors have done.

“But now is different. With the leadership of David Ellesmere at the borough, Colin Noble in the county, Mark Pendlington at the LEP, John Dugmore at the Chamber of Commerce, Terry Baxter and Paul Clement at Ipswich Central and Richard Lister at the university, we are making greater headway every month than the town authorities have made in years.

“We are not even a year into the Vision and we have landed funding for a new Innovation Centre at the university, a Wet Dock Crossing, refurbishment of the train station and station forecourt, major improvements at the Cornhill and the rebuilding of the Crown Street car park. These are formidable achievements – and the good news is that there are as many to come, to an even greater cash value than the £150million raised already this year, in the next few months.

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“Does this solve all our problems? Most definitely not. The point about public investment is that it is the primer – the detonator, I would like to think – for an explosion of private investment. Ken Ford saw the potential of Ipswich for himself, and the ambition of the Vision, and now others need to be encouraged to do the same. The good news is that the message is already getting out.

“I cannot reveal it now, for the same reason that I had to keep Byron secret, but I heard yesterday about millions of pounds – that is MILLIONS – that will be spent in the next 18 months by just a handful of our retailers, to improve their stores and bring an improved offer to the town – a large part of it off the back of the sea-change that the Vision has brought. You will read about it, story by story, here in the Ipswich Star over the months to come, and each good bit of news will be evidence of the dividend we are already receiving from the investment the Vision has won.”