Failed cash bid prompts row

A ROW has broken out in the wake of a failed bid to secure thousands of pounds of funding for Sudbury town centre.

The town filed two applications for a share of �1million of Government cash as part of a scheme inspired by shopping guru Mary Portas - but missed out on both occasions.

Town team member Lesley Ford Platt, who was responsible for compiling the applications, has blamed the town council for the loss, because it would not back the bid.

However, councillor Jan Osborne said nobody was to blame for the failure, claiming the town lost out because it was already more successful than other towns in the race for the cash.

The confusion arose when Mrs Ford Platt included money from a section 106 funding agreement with Sainsburys, which Sudbury Town Council had already earmarked to pay for a new town centre development manager.

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Mrs Osborne said: “When the second bid was compiled, it mentioned the funding from Sainsbury’s and we asked for this to be removed. But as it was left in, the town council was put in an impossible situation, because to support it would have made us go against a policy that had already been decided. As a result, Babergh District Council as the accountable authority couldn’t sign it off either.”

However, she said this was not the reason why Sudbury had missed out on the money, adding: “The council didn’t lose us the cash; it was lost because we are more successful than other towns putting in their bids.

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“We are not a run down town like many of those that applied, so in some ways we were a victim of our own success.”

But Mrs Ford Platt stood by her claim that the lack of backing from either local authority had a big impact on the final decision.

She said she was denied a chance to inform the council about the facts, and as a result, the town lost out on a potential �80,000 boost, adding: “When you see the number of empty shops in Sudbury and talk to the shop keepers about how hard it is, you realise the importance of finding other ways to bring people into the town. The Portas bid would have given us that chance.”

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