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Work to expand the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts in Stowmarket, allowing it to stage even more music, events and entertainment, has stepped up a gear.
Thanks to a partnership with Mid Suffolk District Council, the iconic cultural venue is now extending into 11 Market Place, which has been vacant since the closure of the Natwest bank.
The council bought this prominent building so it could be developed and used to support the economic and cultural growth of the town which is part of the vision to regenerate Stowmarket.
It has been leased to the John Peel Centre, and contractors are now carrying out the works, including roof improvements and installing a safe means of access.
Not only does it provide additional space, the building also gives the John Peel Centre a front door directly onto the town’s marketplace – allowing it to bring music, arts and entertainment straight into the heart of the town.
Councillor Teresa Davis, Mid Suffolk’s cabinet member for thriving towns and rural communities, said:
Sarah Wilkin, Chief Executive Officer at the John Peel Centre, said:
To promote the fact the venue remains open while the work takes place, the council appointed local artist, Joel Millerchip, to create a mural which will be on display at the John Peel Centre.
The mural was created alongside youth groups at The Mix in Stowmarket.
Mid Suffolk District Council’s investment comes as it continues to work with partners, including Stowmarket Town Council, on a vision for Stowmarket, which aims to regenerate the town centre and attract more visitors.
In recent years, the council supported the £2.56m revamp of the Regal Theatre to enable the creation of two additional cinema screens as well as an upgrade to the main auditorium.
Other plans for the town include a new sport, leisure, education, wellbeing and leisure hub, a new Skills and Innovation Centre at Gateway 14, and plans for a new creative wayfinding project in the town.