NEEDHAM MARKET has plenty of old houses, some with Georgian facades, and a wondrous 15th-century chapel with a double hammerbeam roof that sent Pevsner into orbit. He described it as ‘a whole church with nave, aisles and clerestory seemingly in the air’. A farmers’ market takes place once a month. Buyers are drawn to the villages to the west that bask in the reflected glow of nearby Lavenham. A shock to the system is an application to construct a £25m indoor ski centre called SnOasis, attracting 200,000 visitors each month. Approval has already been granted for part of the development, which includes housing and a new station. Nearby Hitcham has a post office and general store, and a densely-packed parish calendar. Bildeston has all the black and cream wickerwork architecture of a village built on the profits of the medieval clothing industry. It also has restaurants and a doctor’s surgery. To the east of Needham Market the houses have much humbler origins.