High street shops to get a new look

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PLANS to improve and regenerate Stowmarket high street are set to include a shop front makeover.

A row of shops in Ipswich Street will be getting a £160,000 facelift to ensure they will blend in with the new and improved section of the town centre.

The shops, which stand opposite the area the council is hoping to redevelop as part of the Stowmarket regeneration, will have their exteriors transformed in a bid to make the whole town centre fit in with its history and heritage.

English Heritage has provisionally agreed to support the project with a £60,000 grant.

Mid Suffolk District Council will match this offer with a £60,000 contribution and the remaining £40,000 will come from the shop owners through a grant scheme.

Dave Benham, Mid Suffolk District Council regeneration manager, said: “The shops are looking a bit shabby and dishevelled.

“We want to make sure that the other side of Ipswich Street won’t look tatty opposite shiny new shops.

“They are nice old buildings but they have been spoilt. They just need a lick of paint and a bit of tidying up.”

The council applied for a Compulsary Purchase Order for the land on the other side of Ipswich Street, including the site of the United Reform Church, to redevelop the area.

The plans were rejected by an inspector earlier this year and the council is set to re-submit an amended application next year.

The plans are part of a large scale ‘masterplan’ which hopes to regenerate and improve Stowmarket.

It comes at an exciting time for the town as funding is secured for a £4.75 million youth centre called The Mix and, shortly after, the final document detailing the Stowmarket Area Action Plan was approved by senior councillors at Mid Suffolk District Council and sent off to independent inspectors.