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Free school and car park plan unveiled for Carr Street Co-op

PUBLISHED: 16:36 13 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:36 13 August 2018

The main part of the former Ipswich Co-op department store is earmarked to become a new town centre primary school, opening in September 2019 Picture: ARCHANT

The main part of the former Ipswich Co-op department store is earmarked to become a new town centre primary school, opening in September 2019 Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Plans for a new free school to fill an empty department store in Ipswich have moved a step closer, as the sale of the building in Carr Street has been completed.

The Co-Op building in Carr Street is set to become a primary school run by the Active Learning Trust, after the sale of the building was completed 
Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Co-Op building in Carr Street is set to become a primary school run by the Active Learning Trust, after the sale of the building was completed Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The former Co-op department store at the end of Carr Street was announced last summer as being the location for a new primary school, set to be run by the Active Learning Trust (ALT)

Now, Ipswich Borough Council and the East of England Co-op have confirmed the complex sale has been completed, allowing the next stage of work to get underway.

Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere said: “This is excellent news and paves the way for developing an important town centre site and providing much-needed school places for Ipswich children.

“It shows what we can achieve by working together on key projects.”

Sandy Martin MP and Cllr David Ellesmere outside the  Co-op building in Carr Street Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSandy Martin MP and Cllr David Ellesmere outside the Co-op building in Carr Street Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The site has been the subject of lengthy collaboration between the borough council, Co-op and ALT, alongside Suffolk County Council and the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

Progress on finalising the sale had been made more complex as the borough council needed to buy the 1.48 acre site to enable the school to be built.

The council will develop a portion of the site into a car park, next to its existing car park in Upper Orwell Street.

It will then hand over the rest of the site to the Education and Skills Funding Agency which will work alongside the Active Learning Trust to develop the school plans.

Income from that car park will help fund the purchase of the store site.

The school is expected to open in September 2019, with local developer contributions helping to provide some of the finances.

Nick Denny, joint chief executive for the East of England Co-op, said: “This is an exciting time for our former Carr Street department store, which has a special place in our 150 year history.

“We look forward to seeing it be given a new lease of life, benefitting future generations through education and revitalising that end of the high street.”

ALT already runs a handful of schools in Ipswich, including Chantry Academy and Gusford, Sidegate and Hillside primary schools.

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