Prospect of Peel Centre expansion welcome

24 December 2020

Councillors’ welcome for Peel Centre growth tempered by town priorities not fulfilled

John Peel Centre hopes to expand its activities into the old NatWest Bank building if Council gives the go ahead. Newspaper report is misleading in suggesting future of centre is at stake – it’s not – and the building on the Market Place would not become its new home but a welcome expansion.

The Green and Liberal Democrat group have welcomed moves towards re-joining the John Peel Centre to the Market Place offering the potential for an expanded and thriving cultural hub for the whole District.

“Our group urge the Cabinet to give the go-ahead to the Creative Arts Centre, which has already put the town on East Anglia’s cultural map over the last decade” said Councillor John Matthissen.

“The town has shown remarkable resilience as a retail centre, with no central area shop remaining empty for long. With the expanded Regal, extended John Peel Centre and the Museum, its attractiveness as a destination is assured, with considerable potential to improve further” said Councillor and Mayor of Stowmarket Keith Scarff (Liberal Democrat).

3 Station rd StowmarketCouncillors who attended the 2017 ‘Vision’ public engagement in the old NatWest building are, however, critical that other priorities expressed by the public at the time remain unfulfilled. Councillor Matthissen added:

The gateway to the town for rail travellers passes the semi-derelict Lynton House and the old pram shop at 3 Station Road, both Grade II listed for their heritage value. Members of the public were emphatic that these eyesores must be tackled urgently but they continue to disfigure the town.”

The Green and Liberal Democrat group also regret that key elements of the Vision for Prosperity published in 2018 have yet to be delivered, such as free Wi-Fi, a new primary school, and electric vehicle charging points. “Other towns have these in most car parks, and we really need to catch up.” concluded Councillor Keith Welham.
Lynton House

Gareth Betts-Davies, a director of the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts, said: 

"At a time of real peril for live arts across the country, we are really excited about the possibility of securing a long-term lease that places performance and culture at the heart of Stowmarket. This volunteer-led centre has a vibrancy and community focus that is much missed at present. The emerging plans for the Market Place frontage will really support the reinvigoration of the town centre and complement the cultural offer developing in the area brilliantly. It's so good for us to have such positive things to look forward to."





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