Wildlife survey needed for store goahead
A WILDLIFE survey is needed before any approval of a £4 million DIY and garden centre which would create 35 jobs in a market town.The proposed riverside site in Stowmarket could be a haven for otters, bats and reptiles and now town councillors want a full survey as part of any approval to develop the land.
A WILDLIFE survey is needed before any approval of a £4 million DIY and garden centre which would create 35 jobs in a market town.
The proposed riverside site in Stowmarket could be a haven for otters, bats and reptiles and now town councillors want a full survey as part of any approval to develop the land.
Focus (DIY) wants to build a new store on land off Gipping Way and Bridge Street near Atco Qualcast. It had a similar bid thrown out by mid Suffolk district councillors earlier this year.
Now the development is again before the council as a resubmitted application which would include creating a 25,000 square foot DIY store and about 9,000 square foot garden centre, selling everything from sheds and paving slabs to decking and plants.
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There would be a free car park for 113 vehicles and developers Boden Properties, who are the joint applicants with Focus (DIY), believe the store could produce a turnover of £2 million a year and keep shoppers in the town.
From surveys, Boden Properties believe there are around 40,000 people within a ten minute drive of Stowmarket, with a potential £9m to be spent in DIY stores.
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Town planning consultant David Shaw, who is acting for developers Boden Properties, said: "The more you can keep people in Stowmarket, the more all the shops will benefit. The investment will be just over £4m, with about 35 jobs created, a mix of full and part-time."
Nick Bould, director of planning with Boden Properties, said: "Focus are absolutely committed to this store and have wanted to get into Stowmarket for a long time."
He added that the developers are working with Suffolk Wildlife Trust and want to plant an attractive habitat, which will help wildlife, as part of the development.
The potential development comes in a town which has suffered with increased car parking charges, which has prompted some market traders and one independent shop to close down, although other chains are starting to move in now.
Town councillor Keith Myers-Hewitt said: "It's about time we had this, we need it. If we have a DIY store in Stowmarket, it keeps people shopping in the town. Businesses feed off each other and this will help other traders."
Town councillors voted to support the new store, subject to a full wildlife survey on the site.
A spokeswoman for the district council said it expects to reach a decision this summer.