Concerns a Suffolk high street will suffer when one of the town’s largest employers – the district council – relocates to Ipswich have been raised.

Needham Market is set to lose the Mid Suffolk District Council offices under plans to relocate to shared offices at Endeavour House.

Concerns over the future of the site, which is located off the High Street and Hurstlea Road, have also been raised, with Needham Market Town Council keen it will benefit the town, not just district council coffers.

Sam Smith, of Elton House News, said the closure will hit trade on the historic high street. “I think it will affect us significantly,” she said. “We do see a lot of them [council officers] every day.”

She said previous redundancies at the council had a “noticeable impact” on their trade, adding: “It will affect the whole high street. It is sad for the whole town as well.”

Needham Market Post Office manager Steven Moore said a key concern was the site laying empty and unused. “It is going to have an impact on business but it is hard to say how much of an effect,” he said.

“There is a concern that, like the Needham Market Middle School site, it will close down and go unused for years. That will benefit no one.”

Mid Suffolk officers attended a town council meeting last week where they faced questions from councillors and concerned residents.

Town clerk Kevin Hunter said Mid Suffolk had left many questions unanswered, and the proposal was thin on substance. He said there are concerns the move is being rushed, with staff set to leave Needham between March and September next year.

Mid Suffolk meetings, such as planning committees, will not continue to be held regularly in Needham.

Mr Hunter said the plans, which will see Babergh District Council’s offices in Hadleigh also move to Ipswich, seemed at odds with local democracy.

Nick Gowrley, leader of Mid Suffolk District Council, said the move was part of a wider plan to improve services and save money.

He said they are committed to continue “face-to-face interaction” with the public, adding: “We are looking at redevelopment options of both current council HQ sites...and what they can deliver for the local economy.”

He conceded there would be a short term economic impact on the town, but added: “Councillors are committed to ending the expensive and inefficient maintenance of two HQs.”