Towns bag second prize of £10,000

Sudbury and Halstead have been awarded £10,000 each from a government initiative to promote their high streets and shops.

The money has come to towns which failed to win part of a £1million pot put up by the Government in July to improve high street shopping, inspired by the retail expert Mary Portas. Sudbury and Halstead both applied for the Government windfall.

Sudbury district and town councillor Simon Barrett said the money will be spent on two initiatives, a trailer used to promote local events and organisations, which can be moved around the town, and a food and drink festival to be held next year.

“We are looking at having something called A Taste of Sudbury which will promote the best of food and drink with local restaurants and food and drink providers,” he said. “We think this is something that could promote the town.”

Mr Barrett said Sudbury had missed out on the £100,000 prize but was glad to have received at least £10,000 towards town promotion.

“Some of the towns put forward have major problems but that is not the case with Sudbury,” he said. “Sudbury is not a failing town. Tim Yeo, our MP, supported us and we are extremely pleased to have got this money.”

Halstead town council clerk Mike Murkin said: “It’s marvellous. We are in the process of formulating a Town Team to promote Halstead and are looking at merging the town centre strategy group with the chamber of commerce.

“It’s early days as we’ve only just got official confirmation of being awarded the money, so we will be looking at how best to use it for the town’s benefit.”

He said it might be used to employ someone part-time to market and promote the town.

More than 400 towns applied to be a Portas Pilot and those who were unsuccessful were encouraged to apply for extra cash.

Sudbury has already created a Town Team which includes representatives from many organisations. Its aim is to set up initiatives to promote and improve the high street.