Ipswich shoppers welcome Buttermarket development

The Buttemarket Shopping centre in Ipswich.

The Buttemarket Shopping centre in Ipswich.

Residents and shoppers across Ipswich have voiced their views on plans to modernise the Buttermarket Shopping Centre, following the announcement last week that it has been bought for £9.2million.

Real estate firm Capital and Regional has joined together with investment businesses Drum Property Group to buy the centre, and have announced plans to modernise the unit into a retail and leisure hybrid.

One reader commented: “I like the Buttermarket. It is a good space, it just needs the right shops so to me this is good news.

“Really the council need to make their mind up because by encouraging out of town retail they have killed the town centre. The only way people are going to come back to town is free or drastically reduced parking charges.”

Another reader added: “Good to see that something is being done to try to revive this centre, it doesn’t attract shoppers at the moment very little to go there for.”

Another commented: “It’s welcome news that the centre will see some investment, but, key to the whole project will be filling the huge unit, or breaking it into two smaller ones with something that generates footfall, lots of footfall.”

The news was welcomed earlier this week by Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, and Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere who was encouraged by the proven track record of the companies.

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Paul Clement, from Ipswich Central, said: “I would say it cannot be anything other than very good news.

“It follows the announcement of the owners of Tower Ramparts to refurbish that scheme. The Buttermarket has been taken into the hands of experienced owners.

“I am also pleased that they are pursuing a more mixed scheme, bringing leisure as well as retail, and that will be a key differentiating point for that scheme.”

Planning permission had been granted in 2012 for developments to the centre, with plans for Vue to convert the space vacated by TJ Hughes into a nine-screen cinema, but a spokesperson from Vue confirmed this would no longer be happening, although a reason was not given.

The spokesperson said: “Vue Entertainment International will not be proceeding with the development in the Buttermarket shopping centre in Ipswich.”