New food store gets go-ahead in Stow
A NEW town centre food store is set to go-ahead in Stowmarket after a Government inspector ruled in favour of developers.Developers Boden Properties Ltd have been given permission to start work on the Aldi store after successfully challenging Mid Suffolk District Council's decision refusing them permission.
By John Howard
A NEW town centre food store is set to go-ahead in Stowmarket after a Government inspector ruled in favour of developers.
Developers Boden Properties Ltd have been given permission to start work on the Aldi store after successfully challenging Mid Suffolk District Council's decision refusing them permission.
The development will create a discount food store with a turnover of up to £4 million – attracting an estimated 4,500 shoppers a week.
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A derelict waterworks filter building can now be demolished and the new food retail store built on the Union Street West site.
A few small shops will also be created on the site as part of the £3 million redevelopment project.
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The district council had argued that the scheme lacked vision because it focussed on one large food store and did not add to the range of shops in Stowmarket. The council also criticised the development as not being in keeping with the Conservation Area.
The inquiry, held at the council's Needham Market chambers earlier this month, also heard from residents worried about their quality of life being disturbed.
Friends of the Earth spoke out because they believed the site was key to the town and should be used as a bus interchange.
But the developers had told the inspector that the superstore would add to the town centre's viability and bring shoppers in to the area.
The inspector Robert Forster said there was no evidence that the discount food store would harm the town centre's vitality. He believed it could even bring more trade to other shops, cafes and services as shoppers came to the store and used the area.
Mr Forster said the development runs along the town's modern relief road Gipping Way, which has little charm.
The inspector said that while a bus interchange had been earmarked for the site in the past, the highways authority has since said it would prefer a different initiative for the town.
Dan Bould, managing director of Boden Properties Ltd, said: "The site looks sad and tired and what it needs is what we are proposing.
"We would not want to put up any building we were not proud of, this will be a fine development and reinvigorate that area.''
The inspector's decision comes with a series of 20 conditions, covering issues including landscaping, noise and parking.