Poll: Demolition work brings John Lewis closer

SUFFOLK’S first John Lewis store could be open by Christmas as demolition crews tear down one of the largest factories in Ipswich.

The former Crane Engineering factory in Nacton Road is being pulled down to make way for the creation of the Futura Business Park.

About a quarter of the park will be occupied by a huge superstore for John Lewis At Home and Waitrose – which the developers hope to complete by the end of the year.

Before construction of the new park can start the Crane factory has to be demolished and the land checked and decontaminated.

A road will be built through the park from Nacton Road to Ransomes Way.

The new 100,000 square foot superstore will be built by Bowmer & Kirkland beside Ransomes Way opposite The Sandlings retail park.

The 44-acre business park is being developed by Chelmsford-based Aquigen and will include another 60,000 square foot retail warehouse opposite the Waitrose/John Lewis At Home store.

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In total there will be 600,000 square feet of new buildings, including offices, factory units, and warehousing on the business park.

A total of 1,500 people are expected to be employed on the business park, including 300 at the Waitrose/John Lewis At Home store.

Nigel Keen, director of development for the John Lewis Partnership, said: “It is great to see work underway in a scheme that brings John Lewis and Waitrose shops side-by-side for the first time and, with its significant investment and job creation, represents a real vote of confidence for Ipswich.

“We have been overwhelmed by the warm reception we received at our little Waitrose shop in the town centre and we’re looking forward to building on this and serving the people of Ipswich when we open in Futura Park.”

AquiGen Managing Director, Paul Isaacs, said: “We are extremely excited to have started the process of bringing this scheme to life.

“Once completed it is going to add a new vibrancy to the region, attracting major retailers, businesses and bringing in considerable corporate investment.”

The development will eventually be owned by the British Steel Pension Fund.