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Stowmarket Football Club future and millions in funding for Mid Suffolk leisure facilities to be discussed by councillors

The future of Stowmarket Football Club and millions of pounds to improve leisure facilities are to be discussed by councillors next week.

On Monday, Mid Suffolk District Council’s cabinet will consider using £2.2 million from its growth and efficiency fund to enhance provision at Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre in Stowmarket and Stradbroke Pool and Fitness.

Members will also discuss a proposal to grant a new lease to Stowmarket F.C. for the next 50 years.

Endeavour House, in Ipswich
Endeavour House, in Ipswich

A 1.66 per cent increase in council tax, a 2.7 per cent rise in council house rent, a joint area parking plan and discounts to support ratepayers are also on the packed agenda.

Cllr Julie Flatman, cabinet member for communities, said the leisure investment will help residents ‘to remain healthy and happy whilst also achieving aims set out in the Leisure, Sport and Physical Activity Strategy’.

The leisure centre works are part of the council’s re-procurement of its leisure facility management contract, which is held by Everyone Active and due to end in September.

They have been put forward in a proposed arrangement with Everyone Active to manage Mid Suffolk’s leisure facilities for the next 15 years from October.

Stowmarket F.C’s lease would provide the club with security and allow them to attract funding from the Football Association to provide more covered seating and improve changing and toilet facilities.

About 60 per cent of the club’s pitch and grounds, in Bury Road, is owned by the council while Stowmarket Church Charity own the remaining 40 per cent.

The council is looking to grant Stowmarket Community Sports and Social Club CIC, which incorporates Stowmarket F.C. a new lease for 50 years at a peppercorn rent.

It also plans to sublease the church land to the CIC but would pay the annual cost of £11,00 to the church charity until the current lease expires in 2025 to allow time for both parties to agree future terms.

The council tax rise is £2.76 per annum for a Band D property and the council house rent increase is £2.19 per week. The council wants to delegate authority to a senior finance officer and key councillors to ensure discounts for ratepayers are introduced when the Government unveils full details of the schemes.

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