Residents to be given a say on future of former NatWest building in Stowmarket
PUBLISHED: 18:51 07 June 2018
Sarah Lucy brown
The people of Stowmarket are being offered the opportunity to have their say on the future of the town’s former NatWest Bank.
Visitors will be invited to look around and discuss potential uses of the site on Market Place as part of a series of public tours organised to showcase the historic building.
The tours have been organised by the Stowmarket Society, with permission from Mid Suffolk District Council (MSDC) – which has recently acquired the site.
The council will be seeking commercial uses for part of the space to recoup some of its investment, but has also indicated the possibility of some community use.
The Stowmarket bank closed its doors in September last year, shortly before the closure of branches in Felixstowe and Woodbridge, with NatWest blaming the cuts on a sharp reduction in transactions.
Discussions about the future of the site were underway in April last year, when the clerk to the town council revealed at a meeting that they were in talks with the bank.
However despite the fact the MSDC’s bid for the building was accepted in February of this year, it remains unclear how the site will be used.
MSDC leader Nick Gowrley confirmed that, while no firm decisions had been made, the council was in talks with the neighbouring John Peel Centre about a potential partnership.
He said: “The former NatWest Bank is a significant investment for the council and is an important site in the heart of Stowmarket. We are currently actively exploring options for the future of the building with interested parties, including the John Peel Centre.
“This is an exciting time for Stowmarket – at Monday’s cabinet meeting, the cabinet agreed the next steps of the ‘Vision for Prosperity for Stowmarket’.
“On Stowmarket Civic Day on June 16, we’ll be working with the Stowmarket Society so that the wider community can access the bank and provide suggestions for its future usage.
“At the same time, we plan to announce further details about our ‘Vision for Prosperity’, including how we plan to rejuvenate the centre of Stowmarket in partnership with local communities.”
Tours will take place from 10am until 3pm on Saturday, June 16 – in celebration of Civic Day.