Historic Corn Exchange will be converted

A DEVELOPER is to convert a town's historic Corn Exchange into a bar and restaurant at a cost of £450,000.Former Queen's Head publican and property developer Rob Cook is buying the building in Stowmarket from the town council.

A DEVELOPER is to convert a town's historic Corn Exchange into a bar and restaurant at a cost of £450,000.

Former Queen's Head publican and property developer Rob Cook is buying the building in Stowmarket from the town council.

Mr Cook, who is married to Sarah and ran the nearby pub for ten years, wants to create a modern English restaurant which offers real ales and wines in an independent venue.

And he moved to reassure people that he would not be altering the fabric of the property in Church Walk too extensively and has no intention of turning it into flats.

Mr Cook, a successful property developer, has submitted plans for the new business to Mid Suffolk District Council who are currently considering whether to grant change of use planning permission for the building which has been used for storage by the Stowmarket and Operatic Dramatic Society.

Mr Cook said: “This is a big project and we are committing several hundred thousand pounds to it. We want to remain independent operators and are sensitive to the historic nature of the building. We don't have a fancy name for it, we will call it The Old Exchange - we want to keep it modern, but traditional.

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The town council agreed in March to sell the property for just under £250,000 after much debate and calls to save it for the town's community.

Duncan MacPherson, a town councillor who had campaigned to save the building for community use, said a pub and restaurant could be a good way to use the building.

But he is concerned that any changes do not spoil the historic property's internal features and has contacted English Heritage which is considering listing the building.

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