Town to get Tesco makeover

WORK is today under way on a number of projects to revitalise Woodbridge's shopping centre - following a £225,000 cash injection from a supermarket giant.

WORK is today under way on a number of projects to revitalise Woodbridge's shopping centre - following a £225,000 cash injection from a supermarket giant.

Tesco has given the riverside town the money to compensate for the massive impact the expansion of its Martlesham Heath store is expected to have on the town.

The enlarged Tesco is now 48 per cent bigger - and the extra retail space is expected to give the chain an added turnover of £20 million a year.

It now sells many more goods other than food - including clothing, home entertainment, electrical, kitchen and baby accessories - items which many people would have traditionally bought in Woodbridge rather than a one-stop supermarket.

Woodbridge Town Trust has now drawn up an action plan to identify ways to spend the £225,000.

Town centre co-ordinator Marion Wells said good progress was being made on a number of a potential projects, though several were currently at the research stage.

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One project many had thought would be a top priority was CCTV for the town centre, which has been plagued with anti-social behaviour and petty crime problems over the past few years.

However, the money is not enough for a system and this will have to be tackled in other ways.

“As the fund could not cover the high capital and maintenance costs of implementing a scheme an earlier technical report has been updated and is intended to facilitate and encourage other bodies to provide CCTV in the town centre,” said Dr Wells.

The trust is looking at the possibility of contributing to the cost of additional community support officers and more research is taking place into their value.

The fund is providing an annual contribution to the Woodbridge town centre group to support the work of the town centre co-ordinator, and a report on marketing the town was commissioned and a Woodbridge Marketing Forum set up with a number of projects being considered.

A report has been prepared looking at possible ways to improve or increase parking and talks have started with Suffolk Coastal, and improved signs are being considered.

Dr Wells said a small grants fund had also been set up to encourage small projects which are of benefit to the town centre - assistance was given recently to the Heritage Open Days event.

Weblink: www.woodbridgesuffolk.info

What do you think would improve Woodbridge town centre? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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