Major expansion of iconic John Peel Centre hits new phase

Works to expand the John Peel Centre has stepped up a gear

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:

“We are proud to be working in partnership with the John Peel Centre on this exciting expansion, and it’s great to see this work under way.

"The John Peel Centre is a wonderful venue which has been a huge success since opening 14 years ago, gaining a fantastic reputation which attracts visitors from far and wide.

"We know town centres are changing and with the right investment, we can help create a vibrant town centre experience. This development will bring even more music, events and entertainment to the town.”

Sarah Wilkin, Chief Executive Officer at the John Peel Centre, said:

“Our partnership with Mid Suffolk District Council and the works currently taking place at 11 Market Place bring us one exciting step closer to creating an inclusive, accessible space, ensuring everyone can access and benefit from the arts.”

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.

Mural boards in window at John Peel Centre