A new pavilion with social space and bar is part of a host of new facilities that have been approved for a Suffolk town.

The Sports, Health, Education & Leisure Facilities (SHELF) project in Stowmarket has taken a step forward as councillors voted to approve the plans at the Mid Suffolk Planning Committee meeting on February 14.

The application included two developments – the construction of a community wellbeing hub and works to demolish and construct new facilities on the site of Chilton Sports Club.

The site is near Stowmarket High School and Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre.

East Anglian Daily Times: The development will be built on the land surrounding Chilton Fields in Stowmarket.The development will be built on the land surrounding Chilton Fields in Stowmarket. (Image: Mid Suffolk District Council)

Chilton Fields is currently home to several sporting organisations and clubs, including the town’s rugby club, cricket club, football club, Stowmarket Striders and Chilton Fields Park Run.

The plans will eventually demolish the existing rugby pavilion and replace it with a new building to provide changing and social facilities to all these clubs under one roof.

The new Chilton Fields Sports Pavilion will have changing rooms and storage rooms on the ground floor along with a lobby and foyer, and upstairs there are plans for a social space and function room with bar, along with kitchen and scoring room/office.

Other changes on the site include lengthening the floodlit rugby pitch, a new play area, new cricket practice nets, a trim trail obstacle course, and a new 100m running straight for Active Track.

Parking on offer will be roughly doubled in size to accommodate for increasing visitor numbers to the site.

The two-storey wellbeing hub a would bring a variety of community organisations together under one roof, including the Integrated Neighbourhood Team (INT), Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS Health, family services, and nursery school and Stowmarket High School.

The hub building would provide health and clinical spaces, including clinic rooms, waiting room and reception, medical rehabilitation space, along with a family hub with quiet café, and a nursery with associated rooms.

The hub is also set to have a new four-court sports hall, changing facilities, and education spaces for Stowmarket High School

The application was submitted by Mid Suffolk District Council in March 2023.

The SHELF project originally intended to resolve the lack of sport facilities at the high school but has since developed into many different aspects to improve the education, health and wellbeing of the community.