AS the public may not know, the building to be occupied by Clinton Cards (recent letters) was designed specifically with a substantial bookshop operator in mind. Because of circumstances out of our control, however, the client was forced to withdraw and w
AS the public may not know, the building to be occupied by Clinton Cards (recent letters) was designed specifically with a substantial bookshop operator in mind. Because of circumstances out of our control, however, the client was forced to withdraw and we found ourselves with a building under construction with no immediate alternative occupier.
We have spent a lot of effort in designing very high quality accommodation, incorporating an attractive first floor which, as a café, would have had stunning views over the High Street and St Benedict's Court. Let me say that nobody was more disappointed than we at Churchmanor that we were not able to see our plans come to fruition.
We considered at length dividing the unit into smaller shops while the property was being re-marketed and turned down a number of proposals for the premises from occupiers that we believed were less than suitable. While we have the utmost confidence in the town, we felt that to leave the premises vacant after completion, while further marketing was undertaken, would not have created a good impression on the High Street.
It is interesting to note that the majority of interest came from occupiers already in the town rather from those currently unrepresented, and we should perhaps applaud Clinton Cards for expanding and investing in the town rather than criticise them. They have clearly seen something in the town that other retailers may be overlooking.
We presume that the unit they vacate on the High Street will be re-let to a new tenant, but this is a matter for Clinton Cards.
We are delighted that Starbucks have taken two units in Chequers Court and, while it can be said that there are other coffee shops in the town, unfortunately a free market doesn't work in that way.
We are working genuinely hard to bring new retailers into the town and have invested considerable sums in doing so. We were disappointed that our original vision did not materialise, but feel that we have created a far superior environment than what went before.
It is easy to forget the 1960s architecture, the bridge link, the old phone box and the gazebo, but with the works that have been undertaken to the High Street and St Benedict's Court this area has been transformed into a fresh and attractive retail area.
Clinton Cards may not be to everybody's taste, but in a free market supply will follow demand. While Churchmanor may have an effect on supply, we cannot and should not control demand.
We wish our new tenant every success, as to have a thriving store in the centre of the town and a thriving town centre is the only way that new retailers will be attracted.
HOWARD WHITE, Director, The Churchmanor Estates Co Plc, Ipswich