On 7 December 2002, Mid Suffolk District Council approved £431,740 in funding from housing growth to progress plans for a shared Emergency Services Hub in Stowmarket – paving the way for collaborative working and enhanced 999 services.

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is collected from developers when they build new homes in the district, ensuring local infrastructure keeps pace with housing growth – and supports the council’s vision for communities with bright and healthy futures.

Councillors considered bids from the latest CIL funding round with unanimous agreement reached on proposals to contribute over £431,000 towards a new Emergency Services Hub in Stowmarket. Sited in the heart of Mid Suffolk, the hub will provide a shared state-of-the-art facility for the police, fire, and ambulance services to operate from.

Once completed, the district’s residents will benefit from more efficient services and enhanced response times. A collaborative approach will also enable the sharing of information and best practice between the emergency services and partners.

Funding for the multi-million-pound project has already been received from Suffolk Constabulary, the Department of Communities and Local Government and Suffolk County Council. Mid Suffolk District Council’s contribution provides the final financing needed for proposals to go-ahead, with planning permission recently granted for the new development.

The new energy efficient building will further Mid Suffolk’s ambition to address climate change and offer reduced maintenance and running costs. This follows the council approving CIL funding for the installation of electric vehicle charging points in Stowmarket as it continues to prioritise economic recovery and growth in the town. Other exciting projects taking shape as part of the council’s vision for Stowmarket, include the regeneration of The Regal Theatre and the expansion of the town’s leisure centre.

CIL contributions are also used to support Mid Suffolk’s smaller communities, with councillors approving a bid for £16,651 from Ringshall Village Hall.

This much-needed funding will secure a new sewerage system for use by the village hall and primary school. Without this important infrastructure, the village facility would not be capable of use by the community. Planning permission has been granted and works are expected to begin next year.

Additional funding for a previous project was another successful bid agreed by Cabinet. Plans for a new car park at Thornham Walks, which Mid Suffolk District Council granted £27,000 of CIL funds for in March 2020, require a further contribution due to Covid-19. While it had been hoped that some works could be carried out by volunteers, the council will now provide £3,355 to employ contractors to complete the scheme. This will ensure public safety as the pandemic continues and avoid unnecessary delay at a time when walks have provided solace for so many.

Cllr David Burn, Mid Suffolk District Council Cabinet Member for Planning said: “I am delighted that our council has provided the final funding needed for a new blue light hub in Stowmarket to go-ahead. The project is set to make a real difference to our district, with residents benefitting from a collaborative and more efficient emergency services response. This demonstrates how CIL monies continue to contribute to important infrastructure, ensuring this keeps pace with growth, as well as providing the facilities needed to secure bright and healthy future for our communities.”

Suffolk County Council’s Cllr Richard Rout, Cabinet Member for Public Protection said: “This is great news and I’m thrilled that the bid for CIL funding to support the building of a new Fire and Police Blue Light Hub for Stowmarket and the surrounding communities has been approved. The benefits this will bring the community and both Fire and Police cannot be understated”.

District CIL is income retained by the district council to spend on infrastructure to support development. This money must be applied for and the decision to spend amounts above a certain level must be taken by Cabinet.

Further information about how the CIL works can be found at www.babergh.gov.uk with details about how the levy has been allocated available on the councils’ award-winning Developer Contributions Database.

This article runs in the February edition of the Stowmarket magazine which you can read in full by clicking on Magazines.