Stowmarket: Mixed response to new Wetherspoon pub plan

PLANS by pub chain JD Wetherspoon to build a new premises in Stowmarket have received a mixed response from the community.

The drinks giant has nearly 800 establishments around the UK and hopes to construct a new-build site in Ipswich Street, opposite the Regal Theatre and one door down from Jokers nightclub.

The proposed new pub would be located just across the road from the ground-breaking Respect Zone in the Regal car park, which has dramatically cut the late night noise and anti-social behaviour in that end of the town.

It would also be close to the site of a new Morrisons supermarket, which was given the go-ahead by planners last month.

Wetherspoons had previously handed-in plans that had been given the green light by Mid Suffolk District Council but were pulled due to the financial crisis.

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Now plans have been re-submitted and in a statement, the company said it was looking to offer a “friendly service” that was responsive to the needs of customers.

The statement said: “JD Wetherspoon plc is a large company who are looking to develop this existing site. Demolition was undertaken some time ago and the site is now levelled ready for development. JD Wetherspoon plan to create a building on the site as a traditional public house with all day restaurant/dining facilities and evening entertainment.”

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Lesley Mayes, the town councillor in charge of regeneration said she though the new pub would be a “boost” to Stowmarket.

Mrs Mayes, who is also a district councillor, said: “It would extend the length of our High Street - Morrisons is already doing that as well. It was approved originally when they first put in the application about two or three years ago, approved by the town and district.

“One would always have concerns but I’m hoping that Wetherspoons would be a responsible establishment that would ensure that their patrons do not break down what we have built up as a very good area and the Respect Zone has done remarkably well and has been a success.”

John Spitzer, Mid Suffolk District Council’s community safety manager, said he hoped the licensee would work with the partners that had made the Respect Zone such a successful initiative.

He said: “We worked with a lot of the shops and businesses (when setting up the Respect Zone) and any new business that came in we would work with them on the concept.

“There’s a lot that’s positive going on in Stowmarket at the moment.”

Janette Fidell is the landlady of The Oaks, a nearby pub in Ipswich Street, and said she was not too concerned about the extra competition another pub centre town would create.

She said: “It doesn’t really affect us - We’re busy enough already.”

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