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Stowmarket: Website which aims to promote local economy ‘needs to do more to push town’

PUBLISHED: 17:12 05 June 2014 | UPDATED: 11:24 06 June 2014

Sharon Brown, manager of Stowmarket Town Centre Partnership.

Sharon Brown, manager of Stowmarket Town Centre Partnership.

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A website launched by a group which has been publicly-funded “needs more development” if it is to fulfil its goal to become a beacon for visitors looking for things to do in Suffolk, according to those behind it.

The Visit Stowmarket site went online six months ago with aspirations to improve the town’s economy.

It features information on places to eat and stay but its “What’s On” guide has no information on forthcoming events.

Sharon Brown, manager of Stowmarket Town Centre Partnership, which runs the website said it “could do more” to promote the town.

“I think it could do more, but it’s something that the board is looking at,” she said.

“One director has previously run a website company and he should be now helping to improve it.

“It’s still there, it does need more development, if you do a Google search it’s now coming up.

“We are currently recruiting for a young person, with funding provided by Mid Suffolk District Council to pay for a person, to help us with the development of the website and other projects so that’s positive.”

The town centre partnership has been allocated almost £180,000 in grants from Suffolk councils.

Its funding from Suffolk County Council has ended with Stowmarket Town Council’s major grants being phased out.

The initial website costs were about £2,000.

The Stowmarket and District Chamber of Commerce also helped to launch the website.

Its chairman, Peter Down, who is also a former director of the town centre partnership, said he agreed with Mrs Brown’s comments but said it had “great potential” and a “good design”.

“There’s potential like all websites but they have to be refreshed and if they are not then they get boring.

“I’m not saying this website is, but if you leave a website unchanged for as much as six months
people will not look at it,” he said.

“I think these type of websites are important, looking at the geography of the county – Stowmarket is within the travel to shop areas of Colchester, Sudbury, Norwich and that’s all pretty strong competition.”

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