Stowmarket: New affordable homes could be built at former nightclub Jokers

The Jokers nightclub in Stowmarket

The Jokers nightclub in Stowmarket - Credit: Archant

One of a town’s few nightclubs, which closed last month, could be converted into more than 20 affordable homes.

Havebury Housing Partnership is working with Mid Suffolk District Council on the proposals for 22 homes at Jokers in Ipswich Street, Stowmarket.

The nightspot shut at the start of September after the business had struggled over the past 18 months.

Sam Robinson, from Gary Johns Architects, spoke at a Stowmarket Town Council meeting, where the proposals were announced. He said: “We have had positive feedback from planners in conversation and also highways who are in support of the level of parking that is to be provided.

“It will obviously provide much needed one- and two-bed units.”

The nightclub’s closure came just before the nearby pub, The Duke’s Head, also shut.

Richard Roper, the owner of Jokers, said that a combination of cheap supermarket alcohol and late-night pub opening hours meant the nightclub had to close.

Gary Green, a town, district and county councillor, said: “It was a shame to see the pub and nightclub close –they were part of the night-time economy. It is disappointing to see that amenity lost but it is not to say that I am against the proposal if there is no-one to come in and take the nightclub on.”

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He added the town was in “desperate” need of affordable homes but would like to see a link with the prospective tenants and the area.

The meeting heard how the existing flats in Jokers would be retained but the front of the nightclub would be demolished.

There will be an assessment to judge whether the building’s frontage should be saved on heritage grounds.

Barry Salmon, a town councillor, said the architects needed to be mindful of the building’s design as it is on a road which leads to the town centre.

Mr Robinson was joined in the meeting by Chris Netton, project manager for Havebury, and Delia Cook, a Mid Suffolk housing development officer.

A formal application is expected to be made in the next few weeks.