Ipswich: High street giant Next hands town a major jobs boost
14:19 12 January 2012
SCORES of new jobs for greater Ipswich are on the way as one of Britain’s top retail names is set to develop a huge new store.
Next has bought the former Focus DIY unit in Beardmore Retail Park, Martlesham, and will turn it into an out-of-town department store selling clothes, home furnishings, a garden centre, and a conservatory showroom.
This means well over 1,000 new jobs are set to be created in the greater Ipswich area in the next year-and-a-half thanks to upcoming developments including a new John Lewis/Waitrose in Nacton Road.
It comes as fashion retailer Matalan has reportedly revealing plans for a store on Orwell Retail Park, creating around another 100 jobs.
Meanwhile, Next has also applied to Suffolk Coastal District Council for planning permission to include a Starbucks coffee shop in their new development.
A spokeswoman for the company said the Martlesham branch was expected to open in June – and would be similar to a new conceptstore that was trialed at Shoreham in West Sussex last year.
The company could not put a figure on the number of jobs that would be created here, but said the Shoreham store employs 250 people.
The store at Martlesham will be slightly smaller than that on the south coast – 40,000 square feet rather than 56,000 square feet – but it is expected to create scores of new jobs.
The spokeswoman said the new store at Martlesham would not affect Next’s store in Ipswich town centre nor its Home store at the Sandlings retail park.
Paul Clement from Ipswich Central, which manages the development of the town centre, said he was not concerned to hear the news.
“Next have two very different types of stores – they are represented on high streets and on retail parks. I don’t think this will affect their presence in the town centre, ” he said.
Next have recently been investing in their store in Westgate Street – bringing in a new air conditioning plant.
Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey said the investment would be good for the local economy.
She said: “Not only will Next bring welcome jobs, but they also have a very strong apprenticeship scheme – it is important that retailers give their staff good training.
“And it is also good that a high-quality retailer is keen to invest in the area. Coupled with the John Lewis development on the edge of Ipswich, there will be more high-quality retailing in the area.
“That makes the area much more attractive to people moving into the area to take up well-paid jobs. There is a great quality of life in Suffolk, but people want top retail names as well, and this will mean there are more of them in this part of the world.”
The Next development is another major new jobs boost for the area – and will mean that well over 1,000 new jobs will be created in retailing in the Ipswich area over the next 18 months.