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Home > Business > Economic Development > Delivering a vision of prosperity for Stowmarket

Delivering a vision of prosperity for Stowmarket

Summer 2019: Taking the next step in setting the vision

Mid Suffolk District Council is leading Stowmarket into the second stage of the Vision for Prosperity Programme.  We are going to prepare a Vision statements that will set out a long-term goal that all future actions and projects will work towards, helping the town achieve the community’s ambitions.  It will be an umbrella document that all other actions and projects will link to, demonstrating a unified vision for Stowmarket.   

The Vision will;

  • showcase the characteristics that makes Stowmarket unique and explore how this can be developed to provide a clear message as to why people should continue to want to live, work and visit Stowmarket, and why businesses should continue to invest here.
  • be “tailored to the place and its people” and developed through a collaborative creation process with local residents and businesses. 
  • be ambitious - ‘stretching’ - but also honest, believable and realistically deliverable within a medium/long term time frame. 

Working alongside our place specialist partner “thinkingplace”, the process will start with a workshop, talking to people to understand what their town is about, and what makes it special.  This will draw out what people love about their town, heritage and community.  Once this ‘sense of local place’ is identified, residents and businesses will be able to set out how they would like others to see Stowmarket and develop an identity and “unique selling point” to promote the town, stimulating civic pride and promoting investment. 

Keep a look out on the Councils’ website and social media channels for further information about the workshops, as we would like as many people as possible to be involved in planning their own futures.

 

You can keep up to date by following our Social Media Twitter page at #VFPStowmarket.

 

Stowmarket Vision for Prosperity 5-Year Action Plan

 

Have a look at the at the 5 Year ACTION PLAN that  draws together a range of projects, plans and interventions that are happening in Stowmarket over the next 5 years.

The 5-Year Action Plan:

  1.  Demonstrates the investment that is already being made in Stowmarket
  2.  Brings together the major projects that work together to ensure Stowmarket's long-term future as the main centre in the District
  3.  Makes commitments to deliver and invest in the town, and we'll be working with our partners to ensure that they come to fruition
  4.  Paves the way for more projects – such as the Town Centre Regeneration – which will see more done to make the town centre user experience better

Love your Stowmarket:  Get involved with the VFP

We are implementing the actions in the 5-Year plan and we will be asking the public for more involvement in projects as they develop.  You can keep up to date by following our Social Media Twitter page at #VFPStowmarket.

Making it happen

To help us deliver more for the Stowmarket area, Mid Suffolk District Council has submitted an Expression of Interest to the Government's £675m FUTURE HIGH STREET FUND to assist transformation of our town centre

Our Vision For Prosperity Action Plan is the basis of the bid, so we are proposing to strengthen the creative, cultural, tourism and leisure offer that is made up of our world-famous Museum of East Anglian Life and John Peel Centre, supported by the Regal Theatre and The Mix.  The land around the Station Quarter is also being promoted as a high-quality urban regeneration site fro houses and tech-hub/offices.  Developing these assets will support the more traditional retail functions of the High Street and ensure the long-term success of our town centre through increased footfall as well as mixed uses and more choice.

Securing a Future High Street Fund grant could unlock additional support and investment, as well as stimulate interest in our town from the private sector.  For example; if national operators see that our town is prosperous and growing, then they may look to invest here too, strengthening further our status as a destination centre.

Access to the fund is through a competitive process and we have prepared our best possible case to access up to £25m for Stowmarket.  At this stage it is only an Expression of Interest and if we are successful and invited into the second round, the detail and specific projects will be worked up over the Summer - again in a competitive process.  

Whether we are successful in Future High Street Fund bid or not, we will continue to invest in the area and develop more investment projects to improve the local business prospects and the quality of life for residents.

Past VFP actions

We started it all off with a public display on 4 October 2017.  It was obvious that people are passionate about the town, as over 400 response comments were received, as well as numerous conversations taking place.  The display material (see copies below) provoked many comments but the overwhelming issue was the public perception of the town:  Stowmarket is under-performing as a retail and leisure venue.  Consequently, the reputation of the town is weak which hinders positivity in residents and in potential investors in the area.  There is a strong desire to "do something big" to kick-start Stowmarket's prosperity. 

On Saturday 16 June 2018, hundreds attended the launch of the 5-Year Action Plan as part of the Stowmarket Civic Day celebrations in the former NatWest building.  This took place as part of a small but very busy and bustling look around the former bank, the announcement that the John Peel Centre will get a "front door into the Market Place, a great look back at Stowmarket's history and a pop-up record fair.  On the same day we also launched the sister document: the VFP RESPONSES that gave more information and responded to other things people raised in the consultation.