Town revamp boosted

A MAJOR regeneration of a Suffolk town centre could swing into action as early as April, it was revealed today.Stowmarket's main shopping district has been identified as needing a big cash injection in order to attract new business.

A MAJOR regeneration of a Suffolk town centre could swing into action as early as April, it was revealed today.

Stowmarket's main shopping district has been identified as needing a big cash injection in order to attract new business.

Among the ideas currently being investigated are redeveloping "low quality" buildings and sprucing up the general appearance of the area.

David Benham, Stowmarket regeneration manager at Mid Suffolk District Council, said he hopes funding for the project could be in place by the next financial year.

He said a business plan is currently being worked on to push the scheme forward.

Removing excess street furniture, improving lighting and creating better links to the Corn Exchange and St Peter and St Mary Church via the Buttermarket are all under discussion.

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One of the main aims is to improve business at the northern end of the street, with particular focus placed on one row of shops.

Mr Benham said: "This block has been identified for re-development and is key in providing a link between the prime retail pitch at the northern end of Ipswich Street and the Regal Cinema..

"The idea would replace the 1960s low quality accommodation with a design that would increase the retail floor space by 60 per cent.

"This would bring more life into the town centre."

Improving access to the Museum of East Anglian and finalising its take-over of next-door Abbots Hall are also in the melting pot.

Spending £1.4million on the Regal Theatre is also being discussed. The town council recently received a £5,000 grant to help them prepare a plan of action to attract grants.

What do you think of Stowmarket town centre? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or join the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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