Tesco Metro, Lloyds Avenue, Ipswich
There was some much needed good news for the Suffolk economy today, 1st April 2009, when it was announced that a new Tesco store will shortly be opened in central Ipswich. The retail leviathan is to build a "Metro" store in the Lloyds Avenue archway, creating up to 25 local jobs. Work is underway and preliminary scaffolding can already be seen at the rear of the arch.
Due to well-publicised recent heavy losses, Lloyds Banking Group was unwilling to extend its 80 year lease of the site -- although not finished until 1931, the original cut through to the Cornhill was made in 1929. When this became known, two potential bidders emerged and submitted plans to the council. It was felt, however, that Poundland's proposals were "not sympathetic to the mixed Jacobean and Gothic rhythms of the space."
Jaap Bos, future store manager, explained that Tesco had been investigating central locations for some time. "Admittedly, we were knocked back by your council's refusal to let us bring back the Cabman's Shelter to the Cornhill -- its rightful home -- as a Tesco Express. It's unacceptable that Tesco customers in this vicinity are obliged to walk half a mile to the nearest branch at St Matthew's Street. Or down to the ex-B&Q by Cardinal Park."
He added: "We're very excited about occupying a spot so full of local history, sitting between Footmans and Timothy Whites. Personally, I'm looking forward to working closely with nearby businesses, such as the market -- though of course we will be selling our own quality produce -- and many others. Did I mention our wide range of takeaways, wines & spirits and cigarettes?" Representatives from Pizza Express, Lloyds Tavern and M. W. Ashton Tobacconist's were unavailable for comment.
The scheme has already come under fire from townsfolk concerned about the lack of access from Lloyds Avenue to the Cornhill. Ian Collard, spokesman for Suffolk People Against Tesco Stores (SPATS), said: "Three generations of Ipswich people have got used to strolling under the arch, maybe going down to Mannings for a quick half or going up to catch a bus home. And there's talk of Tesco charging a minimum £1 spend to walk in the front and out the back of the shop. It's a disgrace. About time the council re-opened the old Cornhill Underground Station to let us get through for free, I reckon." Mr Bos would not be drawn on these comments, merely noting that any spend within the store would attract Clubcard points.
(story is also here)
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