Which shops want to open in Felixstowe?
PUBLISHED: 12:05 01 March 2020
From M&S to Farmfoods ... will that be the fate of one of Felixstowe’s largest town centre stores?
The frozen food specialists are one of a number of retailers who are understood to be looking for premises to open outlets at the seaside town.
Like all shopping centres, Felixstowe has seen a number of key closures in the past year - and an East Suffolk Council report in January said the town had a comparatively large decline in business turnover and there was a relatively high business expectation that the decline will
continue in the next 12 months.
The biggest loss last year was when Marks and Spencer closed its store in Hamlton Road after 80 years despite protests and calls for it to be converted into just a foodhall.
But there are stores still looking for premises in the town. A retail study for the new Local Plan listed those known to be looking for premises as:
● Vets 4 Pets;
Travelodge is also looking for a site and in the past has been in negotiations over parcels of land.
East Suffolk Council last month rejected plans to halve the size of the old M&S building and allow the upstairs to be converted into 16 flats.
In its report on M&S the council said: "It is noted that Farmfoods are looking for a unit of at least 557 square metres. The current ground floor retail area of the present (M&S) store is stated as being 577.49 square meters. It would thus be premature to lose a retail floorspace that is in demand in the primary shopping frontage, this is supported by Economic Development.
"Furthermore, some of the other demand identified in the (Local Plan) study could perhaps be met by the subdivision of the unit into two or more retail units. Without appropriate and adequate marketing, it is not possible to discern that there is no demand for the retail floorspace."
Farmfoods though would not be drawn on whether they were looking at the old M&S.
A spokesman said: "This is not something we would wish to comment on."
Poundworld is looking for premises between 464 sq m and 1,114 sq m, while Select and Brighthouse are looking for up to 464 sq m.
The study said there was a "reasonably good demand from retail and commercial leisure operators seeking representation" in Felixstowe.