Wickes store set to revitalise ‘ugly’ Stowmarket gateway and kick start Bosch/Atco site redevelopment
17:09 16 February 2016
A large DIY store is set to “pump prime” a dilapidated gateway to a Suffolk town and bring a timely boost to the economy, it has been claimed.
A Wickes and Travis Perkins is due to be built in Stowmarket at the former Atco/Bosch factory site off Gipping Way.
The brownfield site has lain unused for years, providing a bleak welcome along the main road into Stowmarket and Mayor Barry Salmon believes this first step will kick start the development of the wider site and by extension the whole town.
“It is positive news for the town,” he said. “It has come at a good time with Morrisons closing – we don’t want to see the supermarket site unused for long, but the Wickes is at least going to help.
“I am very pleased that development is finally starting on the site – it has basically been unused since Atco left town, and that was a very long time ago.
“The district [Mid Suffolk] have been very good at making sure that brownfield sites are being developed and I hope it will kick start the development of the whole site.
“The wider plan for the area is exciting, with commercial and a mix of some residential use. A new modern development at the gateway into the town will set the tone for the whole town centre.”
Outline planning permission for housing, open space and commercial use was granted several years for an adjacent site, but progress has since stalled.
Mr Salmon continued: “I think it has been hampering development in the town as a whole, laying unused and littered with the remains of old buildings – it is not a great welcome.
“Hopefully it can pump-prime development in the town and make sure sites in the centre are developed before the outskirts. There are big plans for a number of major sites and if the gateway to the town is redeveloped then I can only think it will be brilliant for the rest of the town.”
The news that a 20,000 sq ft DIY store is coming to Stowmarket, across the road from the Morrisons store that will close in two months, could capitalise on the closure of the B&Q at Whitehouse in Ipswich, which is currently the one of the only large DIY stores easily accessible from the Stowmarket area.
Mr Salmon added: “It is not good news that B&Q is closing but the timing has been fortunate for Stowmarket.”
The contract to build the DIY store development has recently been awarded to HP Construction, with full planning permission from Mid Suffolk District Council. It will see a 10,000 sq ft Travis Perkins builders’ merchant built alongside the Wickes.
Along with the commercial units, car parking and access will be built of Iron Foundry Road, which connects to Gipping Road.