Business leader welcome Ikea move

BUSINESS chiefs have welcomed the news that Swedish furniture giant Ikea could be moving to Ipswich. The popular Scandinavian chain is said to be “very keen” to build a new store at the Crane engineering site on Nacton Road.

BUSINESS chiefs have welcomed the news that Swedish furniture giant Ikea could be moving to Ipswich.

The popular Scandinavian chain is said to be “very keen” to build a new store at the Crane engineering site on Nacton Road.

If a deal is struck it is thought it is likely to bring 500 plus jobs to the town, which suffered a blow before Christmas when Crane announced it had sold the 43-acre location for £18million.

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “It's always good to hear that retailers such as Ikea are looking to move in to the area.

“It demonstrates the confidence businesses have in trading out of Ipswich, and is also hugely positive for the region.

“Retail investment will help to boost the local economy and as Ipswich regenerates and expands the retail sector should look to enhance the shopping experience - for both the local community and visitors to the area - by having a mix of independent and national retailers.”

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Crane Ltd plans to end its manufacturing operation in Ipswich, with the loss of more than 200 jobs, and move some of its processes to lower cost countries, and another UK site at Hitchin in Hertfordshire.

It is leasing part of the site for up to two years, while it looks for an alternative for its offices, which could be on part of the Nacton Road land.

The site is currently earmarked by planners for employment use rather than retail or housing, and the landowners are carrying out preliminary studies of it.

Lisa Chambers, portfolio holder for economic and cultural development at Suffolk County Council, said: “A company such as Ikea would bring 500 plus jobs to Ipswich and the surrounding area.

“This really is good news for the economic development of the county. The nearest Ikea store is currently in Essex so Suffolk would see additional benefits, such as increased numbers of potential shoppers from surrounding counties. Ipswich is being recognised as a town of growth, so this is welcomed news.”