Town’s Portas bid fails

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STOWMARKET town centre has missed out on a cash boost of up to £100,000 after being snubbed for Portas-Pilot scheme funding.

But town centre manager Sharon Brown said although she was disappointed the town missed out on the money, there were plenty of exciting new schemes on the table.

The Stowmarket Town Centre Partnership (STCP), which organised the bid, is now looking to apply for new funds from a £5.5 million pot set up for unsuccessful Portas-Pilot towns.

And a new scheme, to help young people in the town to get Saturday work has just been approved for funding by the STCP.

Sharon said: “Of course it would have been nice to get some extra money, it is disappointing.

“But the bid seems to be dependent on how many empty shops there are in the towns.

“That is one of the criteria.

“There are a few empty shops in Stowmarket but they do tend to get snapped up pretty quickly.

“Funding for the Saturday staff scheme has been approved, we are funding it ourselves and will be releasing more details in September when the schools go back.

“We have many other schemes on the horizon – we are launching a new website so people can find out information in Stowmarket and are running a Stowmarket Summer Music event every Saturday in August.”

Stowmarket Mayor Anne Whybrow said there were other towns less well off than Stowmarket that needed the money more.

She said: “In looking at different ways of putting together the Portas -Pilot bid we came up with lots of ideas to encourage shoppers into the town.

“But we are looking at ways to all businesses, not just retail, involved in the town.

“I was speaking to somebody the other day who had just come down from Nottingham and they said ‘you think you have a recession down here, you should see what it is like up there’.

“There may be other towns that need the money more.

“We will be watching what the other towns have done with their bid money and will learn from that.”