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Former Aldi store in Stowmarket to get new use after council buys property

PUBLISHED: 17:08 11 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:08 11 September 2018

Mid Suffolk District Council leader Nick Gowrley outside the former Aldi store in Stowmarket which the council has bought Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL

Mid Suffolk District Council leader Nick Gowrley outside the former Aldi store in Stowmarket which the council has bought Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL

Mid Suffolk District Council

An empty supermarket store in Stowmarket which has laid empty for 18 months is finally set to get a new lease of life.

Mid Suffolk District Council this week confirmed it had bought the former Aldi in Gipping Way, after it was last used by the budget supermarket chain 18 months ago.

The council has said it will be operating the site and is now working on a new tenant for the building.

Councillor Nick Gowrley, leader of Mid Suffolk District Council, said: “This purchase is a significant step in our aim to support the economic development of the town.

“There have been concerns about the future of this key site, but we are committed to making it more viable for local businesses and enables us to operate the car park effectively.”

It is not yet clear what the council is planning for the space, but the news has been met with calls by the opposition Green group to engage with the community.

Green group leader Rachel Eburne said: “We are pleased to see investment in the district rather than in places like Harlow and Norwich however we do need to ensure that all local investment is not just in Stowmarket.

“Other places in the district would be glad to see some funds coming their way.

“Regarding the Aldi building, it would be good to see significant community involvement in the use of this building ensuring it can be fully integrated into the town centre and we hope it will not be vacant for much longer.”

The group had been critical of the council’s investment arm CIFCO – a joint owned company with Babergh District Council – which has invested in retail and commercial property outside of Suffolk in ares such as Peterborough and Hemel Hempstead.

The plan for the former Aldi is part of a wider blueprint for Stowmarket called the Vision for Prosperity, featuring multi-million pound plans to transform the town.

Among them are the planned extension to the Regal Theatre, extended free Wi-Fi, a shop front improvement project and new building for Stowmarket High School among others.

Gerard Brewster, cabinet member for economy said that investment in the town centre would encourage more investment and growth from wider businesses and help revitalise the town centre.

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Education leaders gathered for a summit which heard how Suffolk is establishing itself at the forefront of a campaign to help disadvantage young people further their learning.

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