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Suffolk snubbed over requests for high street regeneration funding


By Jason Noble, Local Democracy Reporter


Questions are to be asked over funding for high street regeneration in Suffolk after the county was snubbed in the latest central government pot of cash.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on Friday revealed the 50 towns and cities that will be getting a share of a £675 million pot designated for regenerating ailing high streets.

But despite every borough and district council in Suffolk submitting at least one bid, the government failed to grant a single penny to the county.

Abbeygate Street, Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mecha Morton
Abbeygate Street, Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mecha Morton

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin said there was 'no logic' behind the shortlist.

He said: “I am deeply disappointed and the government does not appear to have been following any logic. I will be asking questions of the minister.

“There are towns here much bigger than Ipswich that have got much more vibrant town centres. There doesn’t seem to be any logic behind not including Ipswich.

“There are plenty of reasons why investment in Ipswich town centre would be more worthwhile than say Rotherham, or actually somewhere quite large and vibrant like Nottingham.”

Mr Martin said that with places like Ipswich being among the largest towns in Suffolk, the funding would go further than towns which were much closer to cities and would therefore never be able to compete..

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, which represents the interests of businesses in the county, said it was imperative for Suffolk’s towns not to be forgotten.

Despite not receiving any government support under the Future High Streets Fund, it is imperative that local councils work with start-ups, the voluntary sector and existing businesses to boost the economic success of our high streets - John Dugmore

Chief executive John Dugmore said: “’This is very disappointing news.

“For the most part, Suffolk’s economy is faring well. Nevertheless, our high streets currently require further support and despite not receiving any government support under the Future High Streets Fund, it is imperative that local councils work with start-ups, the voluntary sector and existing businesses to boost the economic success of our high streets.

“Suffolk Chamber, through our extensive network of local chambers and our role within various business improvement districts, will continue to voice the needs of businesses on the high street to those in the highest office to ensure our towns are not forgotten.”

The news comes just days after it emerged a Home Office fund for tackling youth violence and knife crime also failed to identify Suffolk as needing any cash.

A spokesman from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has been approached for comment.



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