£2.2M Leisure Upgrades In Stowmarket Get Underway

A new £2.2m upgrade and extension to Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre in Stowmarket, including a new gym, poolside features and changing rooms, is now underway.

Mid Suffolk District Council, which owns the centre, is investing £2.2m in the project as part of their plans to upgrade their leisure provision in the district. The works, carried out by Callix Leisure Ltd and expected to be completed by winter 2020, will include:

• An extension to the current building to house a newly refurbished fitness suite, doubling the number of stations from 50 to 100
• Refurbished showers and toilets in the fitness changing rooms
• Updated poolside railings and glass barriers
• Introduction of Poolview technology to support lifeguards
• New self-service facilities for customers to book activities and classes
• Essential repairs and decorating, including mechanical and electrical upgrades, as well as external signage

A refresh of the sports hall, café, dance studios, public areas and shower and toilet facilities for swimmers, have already been completed during lockdown, to ensure the phased re-opening of the centre could take place without unnecessary delay, taking the first steps towards recovery from COVID-19.

Cllr Julie Flatman, cabinet member for communities and housing at Mid Suffolk District Council, said: “I’m excited this work has now begun at Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre and I look forward to customers being able to use the new facilities once complete. This project forms part of our wider vision for Stowmarket, while ensuring we develop our sports and leisure infrastructure in Mid Suffolk to support our residents to remain active.

Anselm Gurney, contract manager for Everyone Active leisure centres in Mid Suffolk, said: “It’s great we’re now starting work to upgrade facilities for our customers at Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre, to improve the fitness experience over the coming years. The new gym equipment is already being used by customers and is currently housed in the bowls hall, before it’ll move into the new extension once complete.

Everyone Active is also set to introduce and coordinate a new outreach programme in Mid Suffolk, which would aim to bring sport and activity to a wider community to achieve the outcomes in the council’s Leisure, Sport and Physical Activity Strategy.

APPROVAL FOR PLANS TO TRANSFORM SCHOOL INTO ‘AFFORDABLE HOMES’ FOR STOWMARKET

Plans by Mid Suffolk District Council to regenerate the former Stowmarket Middle School site into 38 homes to help lower-income househunters received the formal go-ahead at the end of August.

The development, approved by Mid Suffolk’s Development Control Committee last September, will see the site in Walnut Tree Walk – redundant since the closure of the school in summer 2015 – transformed into six one-bedroom apartments, eight two-bedroom flats, fourteen two-bedroom houses, eight three-bedroom houses and two four-bedroom houses.

The properties offer a mix of affordable housing, to be offered either as shared ownership, or as social or affordable housing, where rent is calculated below the private market rate in order to help households on low to moderate incomes. They are amongst more than 200 homes in Mid Suffolk’s social housing pipeline over the next two years, part of a multi-million pound investment by the council in social housing across the district.

Cllr Julie Flatman, Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “When the county moved to a two-tier education system and the school site became redundant, we realised there was an opportunity to buy it as a brownfield site in order to help meet the town’s pressing need for affordable housing. I’m delighted that we’re now able to breathe new life into this town centre site and provide more people with a place that they are proud to call home.”

Planners issued the formal decision notice on Wednesday 26 August with contracts due to be awarded over coming weeks.

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