Stowmarket: Snooker club, the Riverside, set to be demolished for flats development

Stowmarket's Ipswich Street

Stowmarket's Ipswich Street

A controversial bid to build a block of flats over a snooker and entertainment club has been approved.

The Riverside in Stowmarket is to be demolished and replaced with a four and two-storey building providing almost 30 flats.

A Mid Suffolk District Council planning committee gave the green light despite the town council being opposed to the development.

Town councillor David Whybrow said: “I am disappointed that the town council’s views were not taken on board in processing the application.”

But he was optimistic the development would bring some benefits to the town.

Stowmarket town councillor Nigel Rozier had said the plans would create a “monstrosity” and an “out of character” building in the town.

However, vice chairman of the Mid Suffolk planning committee, Stuart Gemmill, defended the decision.

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“I think it was genuinely felt to be a reasonable and good design which will provide a number of affordable homes,” Mr Gemmill said.

“There were some concerns about the way it fitted into the area – that was the opposition to it. But there are other similar buildings in the area and it was genuinely felt to be appropriate and it was felt that the objections were overcome.”

Director of the club, Robert Perry, said the business would be trading as normal and an announcement will be made when it will close.

He said: “I was always confident of it going through, it is not any surprise as it is what the (district) council wanted.”

Mr Perry is looking to create a similar business in the town and would retain some staff from the Riverside.

The building work, which would take a year to complete, is expected to start by the end of the year.

The club has been trading in Stowmarket for 26 years.

The new building would provide 21 two-bedroom flats and seven one-bed flats.