Future of Ipswich town centre a talking point as retail parks get larger

Futura Park, one of the retail parks around the edge of Ipswich. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Futura Park, one of the retail parks around the edge of Ipswich. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR - Credit: Lucy Taylor

The expansion of retail parks around the edge of Ipswich has become a major talking point after our report revealing that there are now more than 70 shops, cafes, and leisure units on the edge of the town.

Readers have commented on our story – and have also made their voices heard on our Facebook page and through Twitter responses.

Many have said they prefer shopping in retail parks because of the convenience, especially the ease of parking – but others have called for more to be done to protect the town centre.

The cost of parking is an issue for some – although others have pointed out that the council-owned car parks in Ipswich are cheaper than those in other large towns and cities.

And some comments did seem to over-estimate the ability of the borough council to direct retailers, especially department store operators, to open new branches in the town.

Jaynee Bartlett-Smith wrote on Facebook: “There isn’t anything that draws me into this town that I can’t get on the outskirts!! Close free parking also.”

Samantha Barker’s Facebook entry said: “I never venture much in the town centre. Parking is the main issue.

So it’s so much easier to go to shops out of town. Luckily we have shops such as Poundland M&S, shoe zone. B&M.”

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Anthony Palmer was more positive: “The ‘too expensive parking’ argument is getting a bit boring now. IBC long-stay car-parks cost a maximum of £5 a day- that to me is not bad value.

“Of course, I could spend 1.5hrs driving to Bury and back and maybe save £2 on my parking, but my £8 fuel bill + wear and tear – it really doesn’t stack up does it?

“All large towns have large out of town retail, and funnily enough, for the main part- these are completely different retail offering to what you get in a town centre. Is Ipswich perfect? Of course not. But it isn’t doing badly.”

Mark Ling felt the town should have more say over its own planning: “How can you have a joined up plan for Ipswich retail when Suffolk Coastal can dump competing retail and business parks on Ipswich back door with absolutely no care or accountability for the impact it has on the town or town centre?”

Nearly 90 people commented on Facebook and on our website.

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