Car dealership closing - with speculation supermarket could take its place
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
A popular car dealership in a Suffolk town is set to close its doors at the end of the month, prompting speculation that the site will be replaced with a supermarket.
John Grose Ford, in Station Road in Framlingham, is due to close on January 31st after exercising a break clause in its lease.
Richard Howard, managing director of John Grose, said the decision had been made due to the rising challenge of internet car sales and other economic issues.
Mr Howard said: "The decision to close our Framlingham site was a tough one, but made with the fill support of Ford Motor Company."
John Grose, which owns car dealerships throughout Suffolk, has managed the Framlingham business since 2005 after buying out previous management Potters.
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The Framlingham site has been under the management of the company for nearly 15 years - but Mr Howard explained the reasoning behind the closure.
He said: "The market representation of all motor vehicle manufacturer partners across the UK is under scrutiny as wider economic factors impact, along with the inevitable growth in distance selling through digital channels.
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"With a break in the lease early in 2020, it made sense to carry out a review at this time.
"We are looking to relocate our staff to other locations and to offer our loyal customers an uninterrupted service.
"Other John Grose locations in Diss, Woodbridge, Ipswich and Lowestoft are unaffected and will be happy to assist with motoring requirements."
Residents of Framlingham and the surrounding area reported receiving letters confirming the closure of the branch on social media - with many suggesting the site could be taken over by a supermarket.
A supermarket had previously been mooted for Station Road, with retailers believed to have been interested in land near homes built in the last five years.
However, business experts have said that whatever happens to the site should be beneficial for the community.
Lisa Hamon, vice-chairman of the Framlingham Business Association, said: "There are a lot of things that can happen to the site.
"The key thing is that the developers listen to the people in the town and the surrounding areas.
"Framlingham is a very historic town and it's important that residents' feedback is taken into consideration."