Business case to be developed for Stowmarket wellbeing and leisure hub

An overview of the proposed provision of sport, leisure and wellbeing facilities at the new hub in Stowmarket (Image: Saunders Boston Architects).

Progress of the Stowmarket health, wellbeing, sports, education, and leisure facilities will be presented to Mid Suffolk District Council cabinet this month, with approval being sort for the next phase of the business case.

The Stowmarket health, education, leisure, wellbeing, and sports hub will bring together a range of modern, accessible, facilities together in one place for use by the local community, sports groups, and clubs as well as local schools.

At Mid Suffolk District Council’s forthcoming cabinet meeting, members will be asked to approve the submission of a full planning application and to carry out detailed design for the scheme. Members will also be asked to approve the next round of funding to cover the completion of the full business case, funding strategy and optimal operating model for the scheme.

The draft masterplan for the scheme was presented to cabinet and council members in June 2022, when funding was agreed to develop a detailed design and hold a series of public consultation events.

The masterplan was then showcased to residents, students, community groups and sports clubs during a series of events through the summer and autumn as well as being available online. The feedback from these events was collated, including over 200 written comments covering a range of topics from sports to community events, which has helped shape the facilities and programme for the scheme.

Some of the revisions to the draft masterplan have included a new sports pavilion, a multi-use games areas, four indoor sports courts (for multiple sports such as netball and badminton) and a multi-agency wellbeing hub.

Commenting on the plans Harry Richardson, Mid Suffolk District Council cabinet member for economic growth said: “The proposals for the new health, education, leisure, wellbeing, and sports facilities for Stowmarket are very complex as we work to meet the needs of our partners as well as take on board the feedback from residents and local communities. I am delighted that so much progress has been made and that the project is ready to move to the next stage.”

The masterplan has been developed in partnership with key stakeholders including Suffolk County Council, Stowmarket Town Council, Stowmarket High School and other local schools, Stowmarket Leisure Centre, local Clinical Commissioning Groups, Active Suffolk, local sports clubs and Sport England, alongside ward councillors.

Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for Public Health and Public Protection, said: “I’m pleased to see proposals developing for the improved sport, health, and leisure facilities, for Stowmarket, which will provide more opportunities for residents to be active. If the plans come fruition, they promise to benefit local schools and sports clubs as well as providing flexible space for health and wellbeing activities.”

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