Pret A Manger pulls plug on Ipswich Cornhill store

The former Grimwades store on Ipswich's Cornhill
Image caption The corner building on Ipswich's Cornhill was set to become a Pret A Manger

A national chain has backtracked on plans to turn a prominent town centre building into a café and sandwich shop.

Pret A Manger was granted permission to move into the former Grimwades store on Ipswich's Cornhill last January.

It said it would no longer be opening a branch in the town but did not give a reason for pulling the plug on the plans.

Ipswich Vision, a partnership project for the town, said it was "very disappointing."

The Victorian red brick three-storey building was home to Clinton Cards until it closed in 2013.

Image caption This picture from about 2013 shows the shop (far right) and its prominent position on Ipswich's main square

It had been used by a number of pop-up shops but has been empty since plans were unanimously approved by Ipswich Borough Council's planning committee.

A Pret spokeswoman said: "We are sorry to confirm that we will no longer be opening a Pret on Cornhill.

"Whilst there are no plans to open a Pret shop in Ipswich currently, we constantly review opportunities for new shop openings."

Terry Hunt, chairman of Ipswich Vision, said the news was "very surprising".

He said it was "important for Ipswich" to bring back to life disused buildings, including the former Grimwades store, back into use.

"We all felt Pret was exactly what that prominent building needed so it's very disappointing news that they're not coming," he said.

Pret had previously said it would employ 24 people at the site.

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