Town centres to get cash boost

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TOWN centres in Brandon, Stowmarket and Thetford are set to benefit from Government funding and a package of support.

All three towns failed in their bids to be included in the Portas Pilot to revamp town centres earlier this year.

But now the towns are among 392 nationwide that are being offered £10,000 and support from the Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM).

David Ruffley, who is MP for Stowmarket, welcomed the move, despite his disappointment that the town missed out on being selected for the pilot scheme.

“I think of all the small market towns in East Anglia, Stowmarket is the one with the greatest potential.”

He said that Stowmarket missing out on the Portas Pilot had been a ‘backhanded compliment’ to its recent success which showed it was not ‘flat on its back’ like other towns.

The opening of the relief road, the upgrade of the Museum of East Anglian Life and the attraction of big names like Morrisons, Wetherspoons and Costa Coffee all showed that the town was ‘making progress’, Mr Ruffley said.

“I shall be working with Mid Suffolk District Council on how we can target this £10,000 to best effect,” he added.

Corinne Fulford, a founding member of the School Of Radical Thought In Thetford (SORT IT) which was behind the town’s Portas bid, also welcomed the news.

“It is fantastic. One of the things we have always said is if you can give us a bit of money we can still do amazing things.

“We already have the night market rolled out. That £10,000 is going to be extremely helpful in planting the seeds for some of our schemes.”