Plans afoot to fill Toys R Us in Copdock and Stowmarket Bosch factory
PUBLISHED: 05:30 25 February 2020 | UPDATED: 06:51 25 February 2020
Plans to bring empty business units back into use across two Suffolk districts – including the former Toys R Us store at Copdock and Bosch factory in Stowmarket - are being prepared.
Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils are putting together an 'empty business unit strategy' for properties across the two areas in a bid to bring them back into use.
While that work has not yet started it is expected to launch later this year, and is listed in the two councils' joint economic strategy for the next three years.
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A spokesman for the two authorities said: "Empty commercial properties do nothing for our economy or sense of local pride in our districts.
"That's why this year we will be carrying out a high level analysis across Babergh and Mid Suffolk, so that we can draw up plans to encourage businesses to use these spaces or work with partners to create temporary uses.
"The businesses and activities we can bring to our empty units will create jobs, regenerate our high streets and help to make Babergh and Mid Suffolk places where everyone can do business and be proud to call home."
According to the council that work will be for business units of all sizes, but will include some of the larger, high-profile vacancies.
Among those are the Copdock Toys R Us store - empty since April 2018 when it ceased trading; the Stowmarket Bosch factory which was largely emptied at the end of last year as a result of the move of manufacturing to Hungary; and the two branches of Winch & Blatch department stores in Sudbury eyed for closure.
The strategy follows on from a study published in October last year, which assessed the provision of start-up spaces and smaller operations looking to expand.
According to that study, sites were largely linked to areas with good transport routes, such as those close to the A14 and in town centres.
The study also found demand for spaces that enabled people to work from home.
It added: "The needs and demand analysis identified that business are looking for places that have vibrance and a community, this is irrespective of sector or growth potential.
"This is a space where businesses can meet and interact. This may be as simple as a café space, but it creates a community to share issues, successes, as well as serendipitous interactions that form collaborations and innovation."