Ipswich: Planning officers back Waitrose/John Lewis at Home plans

IPSWICH could have a second Waitrose store and a John Lewis At Home outlet by the spring of 2013 if borough councillors follow officers’ recommendations.

Councillors are due to discuss proposals to build the new stores on part of the former Crane engineeing site, opposite The Sandlings retail park on Ransomes Way, at a meeting next Wednesday.

And planning officials are recommending that they should give the go-ahead for the development, with the application also including proposals for the eventual development of the rest of the Crane site, stretching as far as Nacton Road, for business use.

The site was originally allocated for “employment” use rather than “retail”, but the officers are recommending that the John Lewis proposal should be allowed.

The large Waitrose will dwarf the town centre store currently being developed in the ground floor of the Corn Exchange.

A spokesman for the John Lewis Partnership, which includes Waitrose as well as the department stores chain, said that if councillors followed the advice of their officers, the developers would hope to sort out all the loose ends to allow work to start in the spring.

The stores themselves should then be open 12 months later, in early 2013.