Waitrose set to open store in Ipswich

AN UPMARKET food chain is set to move in to a Suffolk town, council bosses revealed last night.

Craig Robinson

AN UPMARKET food chain is set to move in to a Suffolk town, council bosses revealed last night.

James Hehir, chief executive of Ipswich Borough Council, confirmed that Waitrose want to set up shop in the town.

Although he refused to give any details of where any store would be he said he expected it to be in place “reasonably quickly”.

“We have been dealing with them [Waitrose] for some time and they have told us that they have a 'strong commitment' to coming to Ipswich,” he said. “I know the site they are looking at but because of rules regarding competition I am unable to say where it might be.

“There is no official timeframe and it is hard to say but I expect it to happen reasonably quickly. It's a very positive step for Ipswich.

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“We are trying to improve retail in the town and with plans for Glasswells and the Westgate Centre I am sure it will be. In the current economic climate it makes a nice change.”

Elizabeth Harsant, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, also welcomed the news.

“It would be wonderful - if it happens then I am sure we will all be thrilled,” she said.

It has previously been reported that developers Turnstone were believed to be in discussions with Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Asda about the possibly of a 38,000 sq ft anchor store at Ipswich's new Westgate Centre - the town's former Civic Centre.

The £50million development would also include landscaped walkways, a restaurant and large public space.

Waitrose - which is part of the John Lewis Partnership - is the UK's sixth largest grocer, with 193 branches nationwide.

It prides itself on selling top quality food and wherever possible buys British - increasingly sourcing local produce from independent growers and suppliers close to individual stores.

A spokesman for Waitrose was unavailable for comment last night.

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