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Future of £2.4m Stowmarket sports project to be decided

The future of a £2.4m sports project in Stowmarket is set to be decided next week.

Members of Mid Suffolk’s planning committee will be asked to consider the Stowmarket, Health, Education and Leisure Facilities (SHELF) project, which has been proposed by the council, on Wednesday, February 14.

The application is seeking full planning permission for the delivery of the project’s first and second packages on land surrounding Stowmarket High School and Chilton Fields.

Chilton Sports Club. Picture: Google
Chilton Sports Club. Picture: Google

These would include a new 3G pitch, a multi-use games area, an improved rugby pitch for Stowmarket RUFC, a community running track, cricket nets, and other connectivity improvements.

A statement from Stowmarket High School said: “As Stowmarket faces rapid expansion and its limited facilities come under strain, coupled with a limited amount of desirable attractions, this project offers the community exceptional and innovative facilities.

“As Mid Suffolk pushes to achieve its health and wellbeing goals, SHELF represents a tangible demonstration of ambition and belief in the power of collaboration.”

Paul Moss, chairman of Stowmarket and District Cycle Club, also said the proposals would finally give the club a place to call home.

He added: “As a club we currently have nowhere that we call home, we just have meeting places that we ride from and ride back to. One of those places is the Chilton Fields car park and on a Wednesday night in the summer the whole place is buzzing.”

Nevertheless, several concerns were raised by residents and local organisations alike spanning topics of parking, accessibility, and inclusivity, all of which are set to be discussed next week.

Also for consideration next Wednesday will be the outline application for the project’s third package which includes a wellbeing hub. If approved, this would allow this part of the project to progress into the reserved matters stage, where details such as scale, layout, and appearance are nailed down.