Stowmarket: Town’s biggest players to come together for conference on its future
06:00 23 August 2014
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Stowmarket is set to receive its biggest injection of investment since the 19th century, according to a town’s chamber of commerce chief.
Thousands of jobs and homes are set to be created and built in the town along with a 195-acre business park by the A14.
And now the chamber of commerce has organised a major conference to discuss the town’s future.
Peter Down, chairman of Stowmarket and District Chamber of Commerce, said: “From my perspective over the next three to four years Stowmarket will receive the biggest injection of public and private capital since the railway came in and that was in 1846.
“It’s quite ginormous – 3,000 jobs, my guess is that’s considerably more than 10% of the current working population of Stowmarket.”
Conference attendees will hear from those in charge of the town’s economic plans – Mid Suffolk District Council and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership – as well as the town’s employers.
The town is home to some of the biggest companies in the county, including Bosch and Muntons, with further sizeable firms expected to come to the new Gateway 14 business park.
Mr Down said the population was set to rise to 25,000 but there were “serious concerns” regarding parts of the vision for the town.
He added the conference could be used to “refine” Mid Suffolk’s expectations for the town.
“One point is that the planners will be careful not to disturb the rural setting of Stowmarket, we do not want to turn it into some sort of Slough,” he said.
“We believe the conference is very important to the future of the town. There is a significant development planned at Mill Lane (Gateway 14) opposite Tesco and behind Muntons – they’re anticipating 3,000 jobs when it is fully occupied, so it will not be overnight but over the next couple of years or so.”
“Three big companies are talking about setting up there and I gather they are not moving jobs from one town to another, they are new developments.”
The conference, organised in conjunction with the Federation of Small Businesses, will take place between 10am-2pm on September 17 at the John Peel Centre in Stowmarket. Go to www.stowmarketchamber.co.uk for more information.