By Emma Brennan
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
A TOP advisor will visit Sudbury next week to give his thoughts on how the town centre could be developed and improved.
The Association of Town Centre Management-appointed regional advisor for the east of England, Mark Ross, is scheduled to attend a meeting on November 26 to discuss matters such as how £10,000 awarded to Sudbury by the Department for Communities and Local Government could best be spent.
Sudbury Market Town project manager Jane Hatton said several ideas for how the money should be used have already been floated, including a food festival in the town next June. Sudbury secured the cash after it made an unsuccessful bid in retail guru Mary Portas’ Pilots scheme earlier this year.
Mrs Hatton said: “The idea would be to get local growers, rearers and producers from within a 10 mile radius to come together to create a taste of Sudbury. We would like to stage things like cookery and butchery demonstrations, and eventually make it an annual event to rival the Aldeburgh Food Festival.
“Something like that would bring in people from all over the county and encourage visitors to stay the weekend and spend money in Sudbury.”
Sudbury Town Team is calling for local business-owners to attend the meeting next Monday and have an input into how the cash should be used.
Mrs Hatton added: “We have invited Mr Ross to come and speak at the meeting because he has had 14 years experience in marketing and sales, most recently in Stratford, where he worked on maximising opportunities and improving performance of the town centre in the lead up to the London Olympics.
“Sudbury is starting to get empty shops that stay empty for a while which doesn’t look good for the town, so we are hoping he will be able to give us some ideas on how to best promote the town.”
Babergh is in the process of creating a town-centre manager position for Sudbury, funded with money secured from Sainsbury’s as part of a planning agreement. Groups in Sudbury are keen to see bigger projects such as the revitalisation of the Hamilton Road quarter and the bus station get under way.
Mrs Hatton added: “Ultimately, the bus station could be moved to the train station area and perhaps we could introduce a cinema.
“Of course there’s only so much we can do with £10,000 so we will have to cherry pick the projects we fund and hopefully this meeting will enable us to do that.” The event is at the Mill Hotel, starting at 6pm. Business-owners should email firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm their attendance.