Stowmarket: Business owners question plan to redevelop Ipswich Street

BUSINESS owners are confident they will keep their livelihoods despite the district council’s plan to bulldoze the properties.

In the last year, new businesses have opened in Ipswich Street in Stowmarket, the area Mid Suffolk District Council wants to regenerate.

The council’s compulsory purchase order (CPO) was rejected by the Government in 2010.

But the authority continues to work with a developer as it looks to make progress on the redevelopment.

The council’s plan would knock down part of Ipswich Street, including the United Reformed Church and several other shops.

House of Flowers, Infuse restaurant and a community learning centre have all recently moved into properties which could be demolished.

Co-owner of Infuse, Peter Worthington, said: “I do not think it will even happen. I do not think it will go ahead within the time I am in Stowmarket. The Arc went really well but that’s Bury St Edmunds, not Stowmarket.”

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Meanwhile, Domino’s Pizza has submitted a planning application to replace the Wimpy Restaurant in the street with a �250,000 takeaway premises.

Dawn Ashford, director of House of Flowers, said of the council’s plan: “I do not think it’s going to happen in the next few years. I’ve not heard anything – the council know I’m here but they’ve not asked me anything.”

But Dawn Easter, Mid Suffolk’s economic development officer, said the council would talk to any retailers about the CPO.

“Mid Suffolk is still working with a developer to progress the regeneration of Ipswich Street, Stowmarket,” said Mrs Easter.

“However, until the economic climate improves for the retail sector, it is unlikely that the council will be applying for a compulsory purchase order in the near future.”

“If there’s any movement with the CPO we will contact the businesses.

“The regeneration is needed in the long-term. We have very few empty shops in Stowmarket which is a good position to be in and we want to build upon that,” she added.

“If the CPO had been allowed two years ago things would have been different.”

A spokeswoman for Mid Suffolk said both the landlords and tenants of any affected properties would receive compensation and that the council would help to find alternative premises for businesses that wished to continue trading in Stowmarket.

Stowmarket town centre manager Sharon Brown headed to London yesterday to find out about a fund created for the cities and towns which were not selected for the Mary Portas Pilot money.

The Association of Town Centre Management is the delivering scheme which would give �10,000 to a successful bid. The closing date for the bids is September 16.