Approved business site will address Stowmarket’s imbalances

Stowmarket High Street

Stowmarket High Street

Representatives of a group serving a Suffolk town believe approved plans to build a 29 hectare business site on the edge of the town will address the imbalance of jobs and homes in the community.

Last week, Mid Suffolk District Council planners gave the go-ahead for land to be developed next to the A1120 in the parish of Creeting St Mary, following proposals which were submitted by Stowmarket Mill Lane Developments Ltd to build on agricultural land.

Work on the site will begin this year, as full planning permission was given for landscaping on the site, along with outline planning permission for the development of the site as a whole.

David Blackburn, clerk to Stowmarket Town Council, said the job estimates on the business site would reduce ‘outcommuting’, people who live in an area but do not work there, by residents in the town.

In the report by district council planning officers approving recommendation, it was stated that “in excess” of 3,000 jobs could be created on the site.

Mr Blackburn said: “The business site has the potential to provide employment possibilities for local people – that’s the council’s view on it.

“The town council considered the brief for the site, and councillors were extremely positive towards the proposals.”

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The Gipping Valley food enterprise zone will also be included on the site, as well as a number of offices, showrooms, factories and warehouses.

Richard Turner, who spoke at the committee meeting on behalf of Stowmarket Mill Lane Developments Ltd, said on an average salary of £26,000, £70million in wages would come to the site every year, which could be spent in Stowmarket.

Peter Down, chairman of the Stowmarket and District Chamber of Commerce, said the group was delighted to hear of further investment in the town and the surrounding areas.

He also said both the business site and the food enterprise zone would provide more high wage jobs in the area which are urgently needed to sustain the future growth and employment for talented young people.

Mr Blackburn added that everybody in the town was “aware” of the imbalance of jobs and home in the town.

“The council would look to support any initiative that seeks to address that imbalance and allows local businesses to thrive and local people to spend their money in the town centre,” he said.

“The primary effect is employment, and the secondary one is that people can spend money in the town centre how they want to, to create a sustainable town in the future.”