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Councils pledge to support Sudbury and Stowmarket after funding snub

PUBLISHED: 05:30 14 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:38 14 July 2019

Stowmarket town centre Picture: MARK LANGFORD

Stowmarket town centre Picture: MARK LANGFORD

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Council bosses have vowed to keep working towards regenerating the high street in two towns in Suffolk after they were snubbed for government funding.

Market Hill in Sudbury town centre Picture: PHIL MORLEYMarket Hill in Sudbury town centre Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Stowmarket and Sudbury had applied for a share of the Government's Future High Streets Fund.

This is a a £675million pot designated for regenerating high streets struggling to comepete with online shopping and falling footfall.

But, along with every other town in Suffolk that applied, they were turned down.

Now, economic growth portfolio holders at Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils have pledged continued support for the towns, particularly through the Vision for Prosperity development strategy.

Gerard Brewster Picture: DAVID GARRADGerard Brewster Picture: DAVID GARRAD

Gerard Brewster, cabinet member for economic growth at Mid Suffolk District Council, said: "We are disappointed to not have the chance to take part in the next stage.

"The additional resource would have been a great boost, but this does not mean we stop here.

"Stowmarket needs support to regenerate and to help the community thrive in a very challenging environment.

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"We were up against over 300 other towns across the country so we knew it would be a challenge.

"We will continue to work with the local council and our partners to ensure we keep moving forward and work to achieve the actions set out in our five-year Vision for Prosperity action plan.

"The VfP Action Plan brings together some major projects to ensure Stowmarket's long-term future as the main centre in the District and paves the way for even more projects.

"We are currently working on building a Vision statement for Stowmarket, bringing together some fantastic initiatives and projects, helping the town achieve the community's ambitions."

Michael Holt, cabinet member for economic growth at Babergh District Council, said: "This is not the news we wanted, but we will continue to support our market town centres and high streets to regenerate and this will remain a priority.

"It's important that our towns develop and are sustainable, and we encourage our residents and businesses to get involved by telling us how they would like to see their community evolve, what is important to them and what makes their town special.

"Sudbury is a significate heritage visitor destination town in the district, which is recognised as part of our Vision for Prosperity action plan.

"The plan will work towards enabling the town centre to attract more visitors, boost the local economy, develop opportunities and invest in improved facilities in the town centre.

"We were unsuccessful in Future High Street Fund bid but we will continue to invest in the area, actively seek further funding opportunities and support the town in realizing its full potential.

"We will work with our community partners to develop and encourage some fantastic investment projects to improve local business prospects and the quality of life for residents."

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