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What's next for Stowmarket?

On the 22 - 24 September 2022, the Stowmarket Vision group hosted an event called 'What's Next for Stowmarket?', where they showcased a range of local projects to residents, visitors and businesses.

The event, which took place at the John Peel Centre in Stowmarket's town centre, was open to all residents, business owners, and visitors of the town. It provided them with the opportunity to learn more about the Stowmarket Vision programme from key partners - as well as information about new projects and plans.

Project feedback

All projects are now available below for public to view (on this webpage) and we invite you to provide any feedback you may have via our online questionnaire about the Vision programme:

Complete our What's Next for Stowmarket? questionnaire

The questionnaire will be live until Monday 21 November 2022.

The What's Next for Stowmarket? event was coordinated by partners involved in the Stowmarket Vision group. The group aims to work collaboratively on projects that contribute toward the economic growth and development of the town. 

Stowmarket Vision

Stowmarket's public sector organisations, stakeholders and local businesses are working together to help shape Stowmarket's development. A lot of work has been carried out since the first public engagement events took place in 2019.

Stowmarket Vision recognises a future town that is:

  • a special place with an exciting future
  • strategically well-placed for sustainable growth
  • a diverse economy and strong community spirit

Stowmarket Vision's ambitions include:

  • To develop Stowmarket’s brand and profile
  • To enhance Stowmarket as a great place to live, work and visit
  • To champion our culture, heritage and visitor attractions
  • To create a connected and sustainable town centre

Download an overview of Stowmarket Vision's projects

Sports, health, education and leisure facilities (SHELF)

An exciting opportunity to work with key partners to develop a new sports, education, health and wellbeing hub across two sites in Stowmarket, has become available.

As a growing town, Stowmarket was identified in our Leisure, Sport, and Physical Activity Strategy as being in need of more sports facilities.

The creation of the hub will provide a unique offer for Stowmarket and its surrounding villages. It will also encourage a transition from existing (and more formal) health services, to greater partner delivery.

The hub will allow all partnerships to thrive and expand, and will provide a base for new collaborations between sport, education, health and wellbeing. This is a model already supported by current Sport England policies, and allows for a multi-agency approach in:

  • tackling local health inequalities
  • promoting and supporting wellbeing
  • the provision of services for young people

The SHELF project masterplan was presented at the What’s Next for Stowmarket? event.

Download the SHELF project masterplan

There were also three boards displayed at the event, which can be accessed via the links below:

Why are the SHELF facilities needed?

SHELF proposed facilities

SHELF - key stakeholders and partners

We are running an online feedback form, so that you can have you say about SHELF:

Complete our SHELF (proposed masterplan) feedback form

For more information about the scheme, and its designs and stakeholders, please visit our Stowmarket Health, Education and Leisure Facilities Scheme webpage.

Gateway 14

Infrastructure works are now underway for Gateway 14, which will be built on land in Stowmarket (on land adjacent to Junction 50 of the A14). The site, which will be a business, innovation and logistics park, will generate thousands of local jobs and bring investment into the local economy.

Gateway 14 has been designed with sustainability at its core. It will feature high-quality landscaping and will feature a biodiversity zone, where wildlife can thrive.

For more information, please visit Gateway 14's website.

Gateway 14's community website provides project updates, as well as answers to any questions you may have about the development.

Old Middle School Housing Development

A new housing development is being built on the site of Stowmarket's former middle school. The development will deliver 42 new affordable homes by Spring 2024.

The new homes will range in size (from one bedroom, to four) and will be a mixture of:

  • rented homes, for households who are in housing need and are on the Council's housing list
  • shared ownership, which is a type of affordable home ownership where you part buy, part rent your home

Pentaco Construction are delivering the homes on behalf of Mid Suffolk District Council.

For more information about the housing and how you can register your interest, please download our Old Middle School site information sheet.

Creative wayfinding and placemaking

In August 2022, Mid Suffolk District Council - in partnership with the Stowmarket Vision group - commissioned a new research study into creative wayfinding and placemaking.

This project aims to understand how the local community and visitors explore, navigate and discover Stowmarket's town centre. The research study will include key consultation and research into:

  • the town gateways
  • how people move around the town and find key cultural assets
  • the visitor experience, upon arrival
  • the link between green and urban spaces in the town

The project will focus on enhancing what makes Stowmarket unique as a market town. Its findings will will support future delivery of schemes to promote creativity, innovation and culture in the town and its surrounding area.

The research study will include essential engagement with stakeholders, partners, businesses and the community to find out:

  • what makes Stowmarket special
  • how Stowmarket is viewed, explored and discovered - both locally, and on a wider level
  • how Stowmarket can grow and develop in the future

The creative wayfinding and placemaking work will be essential for the Stowmarket Vision programme, and will support the future growth and development of the town centre.

Engagement with the community will be taking place in Autumn and Winter 2022.

Take part

We would love your help with this project. We are keen to understand Stowmarket through the eyes of the people who live in and visit the town.

In your journey home - or into Stowmarket, please take five to ten photographs of your route. Please take photos of landmarks, scenes and moments that are important to you - it doesn't matter how small or large they are.

They can be simple and personal (for example, a a bench or a tree) or more impressive (for example, a local monument).

Please send your photos to BMSDCtourismandculture@baberghmidsuffolk.gov.uk with a short description of each image - include where you took them, and why you chose them. 

Innovation Labs

Innovation Labs was founded on the principle of the provision of experienced ('tried and tested') support for:

  • innovation
  • entrepreneurship
  • skills acquisition

all set within a friendly, supportive and cost-effective co-working environment.

Membership provides access to their fast-growing, coworking and innovation hub network. The Labs are suitable for remote workers, freelancers, start-ups and innovators, as well as scaling businesses. Their unique member network promotes business development and creates opportunities for collaboration.

Innovation Labs are backed by:

  • Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils
  • East Suffolk Council
  • Suffolk Growth with the Innovate Local initiative
  • Suffolk Inclusive Growth Investment Fund (SIGIF)
  • New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership

For more information, please visit the Innovation Labs website.

Food Museum


The Food Museum's vision is that people are inspired by the past to make positive change in their own lives.


The Food Museum's mission is to connect people with where our food comes from, and the impact of our choices made in the past, present and future.

  • Ideas: Use the museum's collection to engage people with issues that are relevant to them
  • Identity: reflect and celebrate the region and its communities; inspire local pride
  • Impact: promote wellbeing for people and the planet


  • Relevant: engage people with the museum's collection and how it relates to their lives
  • Open-minded: challenge themselves and others
  • Collaborative: build partnerships and actively involve people
  • Sustainable: work towards a sustainable world
  • Pioneering: they want to be recognised, nationally, as a museum with a focus on food

Future plans

The museum is delivering an exciting 10-year masterplan (2018-2028) to develop as the Food Museum. The first phases have been completed:

  1. Developed the 'Grow' area with a new orchard, farm barn activity space, enhanced animal and crop areas
  2. Refurbished the Bone Building to create new interpretation for some larger objects, a purpose built kitchen area and an environmentally controlled exhibition space for annual exhibitions
  3. The late eighteenth century Alton Watermill has been restored back to working condition and will operate for demonstrations, as well as flour milling for use by the museum
  4. A River Sculpture Trail has been created with eight natural art installations as part of the ‘River for All’ project

The museum are currently applying for additional funding towards a complete redevelopment of the site. The aim is to refocus its interpretation and revitalise the visitor experience in line with its vision, mission, and values.

The museum aims to enrich people’s lives by encouraging enjoyment, learning and participation through their public programme, training and volunteering schemes.

They hold events throughout the year, family activities during the holidays, a programme for schools, social prescribing and community-focused initiatives. They offer a space for people to be active, learn new things, look at the world differently, make friends and give something back.

For more information, please visit the Food Museum's website.

John Peel Centre and 11 Market Place

The John Peel Centre (JPC) is a community interest company, led by:

  • a volunteer board of Directors
  • a small, energetic team
  • over 70 registered volunteers

all of whom invest time, heart and passion into the management of, and caring for, the grassroots music venue. The JPC has a community-driven culture, which is both inspired by and in tribute to its namesake, the legendary broadcaster John Peel. 

The centre provides a space for cultural and social engagement in Stowmarket's town centre. It has a reputation as a friendly venue, known for hosting high-quality music and running community initiatives. 

Aspirations to expand, regenerate and integrate the centre into 11 Market Place are fast becoming a reality.

For more information, please visit the JPC's website.

Old Fox Yard Design Quarter

The history of The Old Fox Yard in Stowmarket dates back to the sixteenth century, when it was a coaching inn known as The Fox Hotel.

When Modece Architects decided to invest in and regenerate the site, it was clear that respecting and highlighting its history - while keeping it as a busy quarter - would be a challenge. Modece felt that the best way to celebrate the site was to give it new life - one that merges its rich heritage, with contemporary life.

Modece refurbished one of the buildings into their own office, and collaborated with Fox Yard Studio to create their art gallery and workspace. They also conceived and developed a bar, named Pallet Bar. Altogether, they have formed a new Design Quarter, in a Grade II listed building, in the heart of Stowmarket.

The aim of the quarter is to provide a space for artists and designers to practice, display their work, meet, and teach their craft(s). It also provides the community and visitors with a space to learn new creative hobbies.

Pallet Bar offers guests a bespoke, thoroughly crafted menu filled with locally produced drinks and snacks. It hosts weekly events where there are independent food stalls all over Suffolk, paired with live music. The bar also has a rotating art exhibition, which features pieces by local and independent artists.

At the moment, the quarter is only partway through development. Future plans include:

  • the expansion of Pallet Bar, to allow for additional indoor and outdoor seating
  • a design inspired cafe/restaurant within the yard
  • the 'design rooms', that will open up spaces for new designers and local artists to work in the yard and develop their business

Download information about plans for The Old Fox Yard (produced by Modece)

Visit Pallet Bar's website

Visit Fox Yard Studio's website

Visit Modece Architects' website

Stowmarket Culture Group

Stowmarket Culture Group is made up of representatives from key cultural organisations to ensure the cultural sector thrives through a more collaborative approach. The group has a shared ambition to bring higher levels of cultural participation and helps manage strategic programmes and projects.

Stowmarket Culture Group - members

Stowmarket Town Council

Stowmarket Town Council has a track record of delivering community projects and events in the town, working in partnership with local businesses and community organisations.

At the “What’s Next for Stowmarket” event, the Town Council will be providing an update on the Regal Redevelopment Project and the operation of the venue since the facilities at the venue were upgraded. It will be sharing information about projects including the renewal of the town’s CCTV infrastructure, implementation of efficiency measures at the Stowmarket Community Centre and local environmental initiatives. Details of current proposals to upgrade the Crown Street Roundabout and digitise Stowmarket’s Historical Records Collection will also be available.

There will be an opportunity to discuss and provide feedback on the Town Council’s events programme including the Stowmarket Food & Drink Festival, Stowfiesta music festival, the Stowmarket Town Awards and the Stowmarket Christmas Fayre. You can also find about the Town Council’s grants scheme for local clubs and groups.

For further information about the Town Council please visit their website: Stowmarket Town Council | Stowmarket is a thriving market town, located at the geographical heart of rural Suffolk.

Virtual High Street

Virtual High Street is a partnership development initiated as a response to support local business during the challenge of COVID 19 restrictions and enable residents to continue to shop with confidence with their local shops and retailers.

The development of the Virtual High Street is an initiative that connects the changes in consumer need and behaviour before and since the COVID emergency, with the opportunity to enable the diversification of some small businesses to start or extend their trading online.

Virtual High Street is all about supporting local shopping and local consumer loyalty and keeping our town centres and high streets vibrant and sustainable.

Yes, the Virtual High Street offers the ease of the online browse and purchase but it also attracts you to so much more on our High Streets, when you have more time through offers and experiences.

The platform is free for businesses to sign up and take advantage of the growth opportunities to reach local and wider customers, and for locals and visitors to browse their high streets and support the local economy.

Visit the Virtual High Street website


The What's Next for Stowmarket? event was coordinated by partners involved in the Stowmarket Vision group. The group aims to work collaboratively on projects that contribute toward the economic growth and development of the town. 

Complete our What's Next for Stowmarket? questionnaire

The questionnaire will be live until Monday 21 November 2022.