Lidl confirm interest in opening new store in Suffolk town
PUBLISHED: 05:30 14 February 2020
Budget supermarket chain Lidl have said they are 'interested' in opening a Framlingham branch amid speculation that a store could take over a closed car dealership.
The German retail giant's comments come weeks after John Grose Ford in the town closed several weeks ago - with many residents believing a supermarket could be built in its place.
A Lidl spokesman said: "Framlingham is very much an area of interest to us.
"However, we have not yet identified a suitable site."
The John Grose garage, in Station Road, closed for business on January 31.
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.
The 2.5-acre site was built in 1994 and was managed by AG Potter for ten years before they handed over the reins to John Grose.
Estate agents Savills duly listed the property for sale for offers in excess of £2million - and said the site would "suit alternative uses".
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Ever since John Grose announced the closure of their Framlingham branch, rumours have been circulating on social media that a supermarket could take its place.
The news of Lidl's interest in Framlingham comes amid speculation that the firm intend to relocate their Ipswich Ravenswood supermarket to a new, larger site nearby.
Lidl has applied for and obtained a drinks licence for a plot at Futura Park, about 100 metres from the existing store.
Framlingham currently only has one supermarket in the town - the East of England Co-op in Market Hill.
William Taylor, who represents Framlingham at East Suffolk Council, said he welcomes and is encouraged by Lidl's comments.
Mr Taylor said: "The feeling is that there is a desperate need for a budget supermarket in Framlingham.
"The nearest budget store is in Martlesham, and a lot of residents don't have cars. There would be a lot of positives with having a new supermarket in the immediate area.
"The preference would be for a budget store - it's by far and away the most popular option.
"My main concern is that the John Grose site will be vacant for a long time. It's a great site with a lot of potential."