Ipswich: Multi-million pound Tesco development will be significantly smaller than first thought, reveal developers

THE new Tesco store set for Grafton Way in the town is likely to be much smaller than originally proposed, the Star can reveal today.

And plans to build 129 flats as part of the development have been abandoned. The retail giant now aims to build 17 townhouses alongside the store, two hotels and specialist shops on the site.

Tesco says it hopes work on the site will begin before the end of the summer – the first thing to be done will be to clear the site including the demolition of the former B&Q store which has been empty for several years.

However because there are substantial changes to the scheme that was given planning permission in the teeth of much opposition in early 2010, a new planning application will have to be submitted to the borough council.

A Tesco spokesman said: “We remain fully committed to building a new store, hotel and housing complex on the Grafton Way site in Ipswich and early works are due to begin shortly.

“We are currently in discussions with Council officers on how the project could be improved further to best serve the needs of the town.”

She confirmed that site clearance could start before final details of the new development were agreed because there was already permission for the new development.

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The new store was to be the same size as that at Copdock and sell a range of goods including clothing and electronics – it will now be 30 per cent smaller and only sell food.

Proposals for a roof top car park have also been abandoned – there will now be a surface car park for shoppers.

Ipswich councillor with responsibility for planning and economic development Carole Jones confirmed the changes.

She said: “The store will be smaller and that should go down much better with the stores in the town centre who were concerned about the impact of a new superstore.

“And instead of the flats there will be Waterfront houses. We are expecting a formal application to be submitted within the next few weeks and expect it to come to the committee during the autumn.”

The original plans were voted through at a stormy meeting of the borough’s planning committee – but the amendments are not expected to attract as much opposition.

If the site is cleared before the planning permission is granted, work on the development itself could start before the end of the year with the food store open in time for Christmas 2013.

Are the changes to the Tesco proposal good for the town? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk