Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally

Labour happily see Ipswich lie derelict


This is a post I wrote back in September about the derelict site on Grafton Way which was once earmarked for a £90M investment comprising a hypermarket, hotel and piazza facing the Waterfront. That is it was until Labour got back into power in 2011 when they made it perfectly clear to Tesco they didn’t want their money or jobs. Today, the funeral took place when Tesco decided enough was enough and pulled their final planning permission for a much scaled down development on the site.
RIP Ipswich economic development. No flowers.

Gavin Maclure's Musings

During the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Ipswich Borough Council controlled days Tesco approached the Council with a very large cheque book and requested permission to build a new superstore, a hotel, a piazza, apartments and smaller retail units on the former B&Q site on Grafton Way. Tesco also offered – if they achieved planning permission for the Grafton Way site – to pay for new traffic flow improvements where the flawed double roundabout currently exists outside the Novotel hotel. Total investment would be £90 Million from Tesco. Total jobs would be 900. And that’s not counting the construction jobs which local firms would have enjoyed during the build stage.

The Conservative-led council weighed up the pros and cons of such a development (cons very difficult to envisage) and duly gave Tesco planning permission and looked forward to the massive investment and jobs Ipswich was soon to enjoy. Labour had vigorously opposed the…

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Author: gavinmaclure

IT professional; political blogger, former Conservative councillor

3 thoughts on “Labour happily see Ipswich lie derelict

  1. Not even Rev. Flowers?

  2. I’m not sure we’ve seen the last of this site Gavin. And I don’t think you can blame Tesco’s changing policy on store sizes on the Ipswich CLP, as much as you might want to. The fact is Tesco are no longer building stores of this size or type anywhere in the country. Much more business is transacted online than it was when Tesco’s first mooted the store. Copdock Mill was over capacity back then. Since then the rise of online shopping has been huge and basically people’s shopping habits have changed. Tesco simply don’t need their store here.

    That said, they do want a reasonable return on their capital investment, hence the decision of Spenhill, their investment arm, to seek the planning permission. With the recommendation for refusal, after months of deferment, I am not at all surprised that Spenhill sought to withdraw rather than be defeated, so as to return to the fight anew. The rumour is they are going to propose housing on the site.

    If this allows Turnstone to finally sign a cornerstone tenant, I certainly welcome it as a good thing for Ipswich. The Tesco farce has been a planning blight on the town, devestating investment into the town centre, for far too long. Once it was obvious they weren’t proceeding with the scheme, the quicker the town could move on, the better.

  3. Come to think of it, a few Co-op foodstores would be discombobulated by this. It is just a coincidence that some Labour councillors are Co-op sponsored, isn’t it?

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