Market towns up for award
SIX Suffolk communities are vying for a new award to mark the regeneration work taking place in the region's market towns.Wickham Market, Saxmundham, Halesworth, Debenham, Beccles and Brandon have all entered heritage, transport and community projects for the awards, the first of their kind.
SIX Suffolk communities are vying for a new award to mark the regeneration work taking place in the region's market towns.
Wickham Market, Saxmundham, Halesworth, Debenham, Beccles and Brandon have all entered heritage, transport and community projects for the awards, the first of their kind.
They will find out on Monday if they are among the winners when the annual Market Towns Conference is held at Newmarket racecourse.
Wickham Market, which has entered the community category, has been taking part in a £100,000-plus project to breathe fresh life into the town and surrounding area.
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The main venture is the setting up of a resource centre, offering facilities for the police and the Citizens Advice Bureau, employment and benefits information and advice, internet access, and a room for community groups to complement those available at the village hall, as well as other community services.
Halesworth has entered its Millennium Green project, which has seen an area established for wildlife and the public at the southern end of the town.
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The area comprises grazing marshes between the River Blyth, the Town River and the New Reach, and on either side of the railway, a new pond, and walks.
Saxmundham has entered its community news project while Debenham has been working on a cycle scheme.
Organisers of the competition – the East of England Market Towns Advisory Forum, which includes the East of England Development Agency, Action for Market Towns and the Countryside Agency – say 25 towns have entered.
The awards were open to towns and settlements in the region with populations between 2,000 and 30,000.
Winners in each category will be presented with a specially framed certificate in the style of a charter. Also an overall winner for the "best market town project in the East of England" will receive a specially commissioned portrait of their town.
The conference is aimed at community partnerships involved in market town regeneration. It offers representatives the chance to learn from best practice across the region and network with other groups to learn from their experiences.
Sally Williams, regional co-ordinator for Action for Market Towns, said: "These awards are about recognising the success of the many successful regeneration projects which are helping to revitalise the East of England's market towns.
"Successful regeneration in market towns will result in new facilities and services being brought into these areas, which will help them become places where people can choose to work as well as live.
"The conference will be an excellent opportunity to bring people together for networking purposes and there will also be a chance for them to hear from motivational speakers."