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Major scheme to transform Stowmarket unveiled in new report

PUBLISHED: 17:47 30 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:47 30 May 2018

The vision aims to improve Stowmarket Picture: GREGG BROWN

The vision aims to improve Stowmarket Picture: GREGG BROWN

Multi-million pound plans to transform Stowmarket have been published as a vision for the town’s future is compiled.

The Regal Theatre is having a million-pound revamp to get two new screens Picture: GREGG BROWNThe Regal Theatre is having a million-pound revamp to get two new screens Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Vision for Prosperity has been in the works following a public consultation in October last year, and aims to invest in all areas of the town to improve the economy, community and cultural offering.

Some proposals such as a planned extension to the Regal Theatre and the No More Delays on the A14 campaign have already been made public, but the vision has now been published with additional details ahead of Monday’s Mid Suffolk District Council cabinet meeting.

Among the measures included are extended free Wi-Fi in the town centre, enhancements to public areas with sculptures and art, an upgrade to the Cedars Hotel by Best Western Group, a new drive-through Costa and McDonalds.

Other measures include creating a technology hub, a £250,000 shop front improvement project, a brand new building for Stowmarket high School, new primary school and redevelopments of the former Needham Market and Stowmarket middle schools into housing.

Stowmarket High School is set to get a new building Picture: GREGG BROWNStowmarket High School is set to get a new building Picture: GREGG BROWN

The council’s report said: “The Vision for Prosperity work is intended to kick-start a resurgence in Stowmarket and its surrounding area, coordinating services and responding to the needs of the community.”

It added: “In short, the perception is that the town is under-performing as a retail and leisure venue

“Consequently, the reputation of the town is weak which hinders positivity in residents and in potential investors in the area.”

The cabinet is asked to allocate £550,000 towards the work.

Stowmarket town centre
Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCILStowmarket town centre Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL

Rachel Eburne, Green group leader at Mid Suffolk District Council said: “We need to be certain the voices of the many are heard in this document, the initial consultations had low turnouts and we need to make sure all have their say.

“There have been a number of Stowmarket based plans over the years, these have delivered hundreds of houses, and the facilities to back this up have been slow to materialise.

“Environmental improvements need to be front and centre of Stowmarket vision.

“We need to be sure that we are not focussing too heavily on Stowmarket, when the rest of the district needs investment.”

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