Lidl confirm interest in opening new store in Suffolk town
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
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.
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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.
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Estate agents Savills duly listed the property for sale for offers in excess of £2million - and said the site would "suit alternative uses".
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."