Cash boost for Woodbridge
WOODBRIDGE is today set for a huge cash boost to revitalise its shopping centre.Tesco is giving the riverside town £225,000 to compensate for the massive impact the expansion of its Martlesham Heath store will have on the town.
WOODBRIDGE is today set for a huge cash boost to revitalise its shopping centre.
Tesco is giving the riverside town £225,000 to compensate for the massive impact the expansion of its Martlesham Heath store will have on the town.
Council chiefs say in the next few months an action plan will be drawn up to show how the money will be spent.
But officials also hope the cash will generate more funding for projects - by using some as "match funding" to attract grant aid from other bodies.
Suffolk Coastal will work with the Woodbridge Town Trust to decide how the money is used and apply for grants.
The cash is being given by Tesco as part of a legal agreement for the development of its Martlesham store, work which is currently under way.
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It is increasing the retail sales area by 48 per cent. The work is expected to give the supermarket chain an added turnover of £20 million a year.
Most of the extra shopping space will be for clothing, home entertainment, electrical, kitchen and sports equipment, and baby accessories, items already sold in the centre of Woodbridge.
When the store opened ten years ago shopkeepers in Woodbridge immediately felt the effects as the superstore pulled in customers from the surrounding area. The latest expansion is expected to have a similar negative impact.
Suffolk Coastal's cabinet will discuss on Tuesday June 7 the arrangements for using the money to enhance the town centre and improve its vitality and viability.
Councillor John Perry said the Woodbridge Town Trust would be responsible for drawing up an action plan but the district council would work closely with it and co-ordinate a project group.
He said: "The town trust will carry out public consultation and liaison with voluntary groups. It will then submit to the project board a draft action plan by September 30."
A "shopping list" of possible improvements has been drawn up though these will not be published until the consultation takes place.
CCTV cameras in the Thoroughfare and surrounding area aimed at stamping out the worsening problem of vandalism could be a project.
Other possible schemes include more car parking, better signs, improved pavements, a review of the traffic management scheme in the Thoroughfare, funding for the town centre co-ordinator's job, and advertising in Tesco about the attractions of Woodbridge.
n What do you think the money should be spent on? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk