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John Peel Centre and council to discuss ideas as sale of former Natwest to Mid Suffolk accepted

PUBLISHED: 09:00 24 February 2018

The former Natwest in Stowmarket. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

The former Natwest in Stowmarket. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

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A bid by Mid Suffolk District Council to buy the vacant former NatWest bank next to the John Peel Centre has been accepted, the council has confirmed.

The John Peel Centre in Stowmarket has backed the plans. Picture: PHIL MORLEYThe John Peel Centre in Stowmarket has backed the plans. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Speaking at Thursday’s full council meeting, leader Nicholas Gowrley confirmed the offer on the building had been accepted, and the sale was continuing to progress.

He said: “Located in the heart of the town, this property now has real potential to be redeveloped as an asset for our residents.

“As it is attached to the John Peel Centre, which already does such excellent work within our community, we will be working closely with them as we look at how to secure the future of this location and our town centre more widely.

“The building has a long history in Stowmarket, long before it was used as a NatWest branch, and through this purchase we hope to ensure it has a long future ahead of it as well.”

It is not yet clear when the sale is due to be completed, or what the building might be redeveloped as, but it is understood that talks with the John Peel Centre will get underway to share ideas, and aim for a project with significant economic and community value.

Sheila Ravenscroft, John Peel’s wife and centre director said it was something the centre had “dreamed” of when it first opened six years ago.

Chairman of the John Peel Centre Tom Barker added: “Both Stowmarket Town Council and Mid Suffolk District Council have demonstrated their significant support for the centre ever since it began as an idea and we feel pleased to operate in a town supported by such forward-thinking Councils.

“There are lots of opportunities from Mid Suffolk’s strategic purchase and we’re looking forward to sharing ideas about how to maximise the economic and community benefits from this building.”

The building was the original entrance to Stowmarket Corn Exchange, before the rear section was turned into the John Peel Centre.

The centre said the purchase could re-unite the two sections, and potentially create a town centre-side entrance to the venue alongside other significant opportunities.

Venue manager Jane Cox added: “Mid Suffolk securing this town centre building is great news.

“The John Peel Centre would welcome the opportunity to work with the council on future plans for this strategic building.”

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