New bid by Tesco to move into former Jack Wills in central Ipswich

Tesco is hoping to move into the former Jack Wills store. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Tesco is hoping to move into the former Jack Wills store. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Tesco is making another bid to move into the former Croydon’s and Jack Wills store on Tavern Street after Jack Wills confirmed it would not be reopening in the town.

The retail giant originally hoped to move into the store in 2015 before running into problems with the site. A year later Jack Wills opened its store – but since then the company was taken over after running into financial problems and last week it confirmed it would not be reopening in Tavern Street after the end of the lockdown.

But there was confusion after a drinks licence application published by Ipswich council had the wrong address on it – suggesting that Tesco was looking to move into the former Cotswold unit in the former Great White Horse Hotel. A borough official confirmed that the form had been wrongly filled in by the applicant.

The public notice may now have to be reprinted giving the correct address. It wants permission to sell alcohol between 6am and 11pm for consumption off the premises.

A spokeswoman for Tesco said: “We’re keen to open a store and serve customers on Tavern Street, Ipswich and we’ll update the local community on our plans as we move forwards.”

The company does not need planning permission for a change of use because it would continue to be used as a shop – but it has put in planning applications for new air conditioning plant and a new shop front which are expected to be discussed by planners later this year.

The former Croydons store was built in 1929 and is not listed but The Ipswich Society has had long-standing concerns about possible changes to what is a prominent building in the town centre and society chairman John Norman said they were still keeping a close eye on what was happening there.

MORE: Ipswich Society’s concerns about Tesco

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The proposals for the new store and the licence are unlikely to come across much opposition at the borough.

Ipswich councillor Colin Kreidewolf is involved in economic development projects in the town, and said Tesco arriving there would be good news: “We need to have more things for the increasing numbers of people living in the town. There used to be more town centre supermarkets and food halls until about 40 years ago.

“Then it went the other way with the big edge-of-town superstores and the council had to dig in to keep Sainsburys in Upper Brook Street – but now with the change in lifestyle people want the convenience of town centre food stores again.”