Mid Suffolk District Council’s multi-million-pound investment in Needham Market gets underway this month – with new homes, community facilities and a boost for the local economy set to help the town’s post-COVID recovery.
Work to deliver a total of over 130 new homes for the town is due to begin this summer, as the council’s former headquarters on the High Street is prepared for the first phase of development.
This first phase of 32 homes will be a development named Chambers Green in a nod to the former use of the site. Located on the former Hurstlea Road car park, it will have combination of 2 and 3 bedroom detached and semi-detached homes as well as 1 and 2 bedroom apartments and a retail unit.
Ten of the homes will be ‘affordable housing’ – helping those on lower income and meeting the need for local housing close to shops and amenities.
The listed building that formed part of Mid Suffolk District Council’s headquarters will remain part of Chambers Green and will be converted back to residential use, preserving its character and period details.
Adjacent to the site, the former bowling green will be maintained as open space for the local community with a woodland walk and benches being added near to the existing duck pond.
With the closure of the car park on Hurstlea Road, alternative long-term parking provision is now available at Barrett’s Lane. The bottle and clothes banks have been relocated to the Station Yard car park.
The Chambers Green development is the first project to be delivered by Mid Suffolk Growth, a joint venture between Mid Suffolk District Council and the Norse Group to develop council-owned land and provide housing for our communities.
Cllr Paul Ekpenyong, Chair of Mid Suffolk Growth, said:
“I am pleased to see the development at Needham Market start to take shape. Our investment in this project, will help us realise our ambition of delivering homes for our local communities and support the economy in Mid Suffolk.”
Commenting on the development, Cllr Gerard Brewster, Mid Suffolk District Council’s Deputy Leader and cabinet member for economic growth, said:
“I am delighted to see work getting underway at our former headquarters. There is a significant demand for homes in Needham Market and Chambers Green will offer the community good quality homes in the heart of the town. This is, however, just the start of our investment in our vision for the town’s future.”
The second phase of the development will provide an additional 60 homes, while later this year, several other projects including development at the former Needham Market Middle School site and the creation of a new visitor centre at Needham Lake will also begin, as well as a new pedestrian access to open up the town to tourists.
The former Middle School development will create a further 41 homes, made up of a combination of houses, flats and bungalows.
These works will also include converting the existing Victorian school building into a library to replace the towns current library provision – and the development of a pedestrian route between the High Street and Needham Lake.
It is hoped that the new visitor centre will not only cater for the community but will also attract more visitors to enjoy the open space at Needham Lake. The new pedestrian access through Needham Market train station will then provide easy access from Needham Lake to the town centre where visitors can enjoy the High Street’s independent shops and restaurants.
Cllr Brewster concluded:
“The vision for Needham Market is to not only meet the need for new homes but also to support the wider community to access open spaces, attract visitors and boost the local economy.
“Together with our partners, the local community and businesses we can work to ensure the infrastructure and facilities are in place to make Needham Market a place everyone is proud to call home.”