Helping the town grow

REVITALISING one of Stowmarket's "green lungs" could provide a massive boost to the local economy, it was claimed today.Denis Barnard, chairman of the town's chamber of commerce, believes the Pickerel Project is key to attracting new business to the area.

REVITALISING one of Stowmarket's "green lungs" could provide a massive boost to the local economy, it was claimed today.

Denis Barnard, chairman of the town's chamber of commerce, believes the Pickerel Project is key to attracting new business to the area.

Under the scheme, £100,000 would be spent on improving a stretch of the River Gipping that runs through Stowmarket.

Mr Barnard said: "The way I see it is to attract businesses into Stowmarket we've got to attract people. To attract people, we've got to have nice things in the town for them to come and see.

"This would be very cost effective and, if done well, could be a big draw.

"Businesses will only go where there's a lot of people. The town council estimates we get 60 to 70,000 visitors a year. If we doubled that, then the business would follow."

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The project received a boost last weekend when a clutch of volunteers spent a day clearing the river and painting new railings.

Work on the scheme first began three years ago and it is planned to provide new information boards and pathways for the area.

Keith Scarff, project leader, said: "The resolve of those involved in the project has not diminished and these little bits and pieces help move it forward.

"You go to other towns and the waterways are made into a prominent feature. Stowmarket has lost it's way in that respect. Nowadays quite a lot of tourism is associated with water."

The group is currently waiting to hear whether an application for a £25,000 from the Civic Trust has been successful.

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