East of England Co-operative Society has revealed plans to regenerate important parts of Ipswich using its extensive property portfolio.
The society, which owns more than £100m of investment property in East Anglia, is going through the planning process to demolish buildings to make way for a new school, health centre, stores and housing.
The society has invested over £4million in its retail centre at Rosehill, Ipswich, creating 40,000 sq ft of new retail space.
This includes a new purpose-built store for its current tenant Aldi, plus three units for new tenants Greggs, Poundstretcher and Fit 4 Less gym, which will open over the course of spring and summer.
The society’s own supermarket will remain in place at the site.
Plans have also been made for the Derby Road area, behind the society’s Rosehill Retail Centre is Derby Road, where buildings are being knocked down to tidy the area.
The society hopes to develop housing and a health centre on the site, which once served as a co-operative coal yard.
On Carr Street – whose co-op history dates back to the late 19th century when it was owned by the Ipswich Industrial Society, an ancestor of East of England, there are plans for a new primary school.
The society, which ran a department store on the site until 2009, is in talks with the local council and education trusts and is hoping for funding for site acquisition from the Education Funding Agency.
Joint chief executive Nick Denny said: “These are exciting developments for us as a business and property developer. We’re proud to be making these investments, working with local contractors and consultants, creating more local jobs and providing new services for the local community.
“The income generated also directly benefits hundreds of thousands of local people, our members, through increased contributions to the dividend.”
Meanwhile in Colchester, the society has submitted plans for five new restaurants, two retail units and 24 flats at its former department store on Long Wyre Street.
Mr Denny said: “By revitalising our property and bringing in new food and retail outlets, we hope to entice more people to the area benefiting other local businesses, while providing much-needed housing in a central location.”
Cllr Tim Young, portfolio holder for culture and regeneration, said: “I am extremely pleased that plans have been brought forward to rejuvenate the site and bring it back into use.
“There has been an enormous amount of investment in the local area. Plans to also redevelop this key site will generate jobs and provide an economic boost across the town.”
If permission is granted they hope to begin work on dividing the 60,000sqft property later this year.
East of England’s property portfolio sees it let 500 properties to tenants, generating income of more than £7.1million each year.
It also has 225 residential properties, including flats, houses and two holiday lets in Aldeburgh.
The society also works with local building firms and architects to develop new build sites, including affordable or social housing, in Wickham Market, Snape, Ipswich and Wimpole Road in Colchester.
Another property venture saw it acquire the disused Royal Oak pub in Ipswich and turn it into a recovery centre for people coping with addiction.
And it provides space charities Emmaus and Age UK and community retail project Wickham Market Inspirations, along with temporary space for mobile health units, charities and other groups.