Ipswich: Tesco application on Grafton Way deferred yet again as fresh doubts surface

New Sign at The Emperor, Ipswich

New Sign at The Emperor, Ipswich - Credit: Archant

Tesco’s bid to get permission to develop a waterfront site at Grafton Way in Ipswich has been deferred yet again amid speculation that the scheme could be dropped completely.

We revealed yesterday that Tesco had decided not to go ahead with the development – but that it was still seeking planning permission for its amended plan in the hope of selling on the site to another retailer or developer.

Now it has been confirmed that the planning application, which had been due to be discussed by the borough’s planning and development committee on May 29, has been deferred.

Speculation is mounting that the application could be withdrawn altogether after suggestions emerged from the borough that the committee was less likely to grant permission to a proposal which effectively has no developer and no end-user.

Paul Clement from Ipswich Central said: “I think Tesco seems to be getting the message that if this site is not going to be built out by them in the near future, then it would be better for the town to take a back seat and allow other sites to be prioritised.”

He said the council should look at developing a new town centre link with the Waterfront – by promoting the rebirth of the Tower Ramparts shopping centre, improving the Cornhill, and prioritising The Link site on Lower Brook Street – currently occupied by Archant.

“The fact is that if you have too many sites all competing for developers you will not get anything happening.

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“The borough has been taking an increasingly positive role in prioritising developments – the fact that they have approved the development of the Vue cinema in the Buttermarket is an indication of that.”

While the proposed Grafton Way store will not now be built, Tesco is going ahead with the conversion of the Emperor pub in Norwich Road into a new community store.

This has prompted the pub to put up a new sign, poking fun at its fate which was decided by planners earlier this year – conversion work is due to start soon.