Cash could have made a difference

SUDBURY has missed out on tens of thousands of pounds of funding to revive the town centre, writes Frances Leate.

Around £1million of Government money has been dished out to around 15 towns across the country, including Braintree and Lowestoft, as part of a scheme inspired by celebrity retail expert Mary Portas.

But Sudbury failed to be picked for the cash, which could have been up to £86,500, in both rounds of the bidding process.

Sudbury Town Council, which put forward the bids, has vowed to put in place a number of new initiatives to improve the town without the funding.

Jack Owen, Sudbury councillor and town mayor, said the council would still be pushing forward with plans to regenerate the Hamilton Road area and improve Market Hill.

He said: “We should see the positive side of this and now focus on delivering the many improvements for the town already in the pipeline.”

However, fellow councillor Lesley Ford-Platt said: “It is such a disappointment that we missed out.

“Many of the town councillors didn’t like the fact the second bid included money from a section 106 agreement we had from Sainsbury’s as we had to include match funding in our bid. They wanted that money to appoint a town centre manager, so they decided not to support it.

“That then meant that Babergh District Council didn’t give its support and that was why, in my opinion, the bid was rejected.”

She added: “We should have been giving the town the best possible chance to be successful as it is such an awful lot of money which could have gone towards making a real difference to the town centre.”

Mr Owen said that a group comprising of community leaders, including councillors, was getting together to form a committee which will ensure projects to rejuvenate the town centre will go ahead.