Work starts on project to regenerate town centres under pressure

Felixstowe town centre will be one of 11 towns to have a plan drawn up to revitalise it Picture: GRE

Felixstowe town centre will be one of 11 towns to have a plan drawn up to revitalise it Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

Major research is taking place to put together strategic plans to revitalise and regenerate 11 east Suffolk towns.

The aim is identify priorities and initiatives that will help the communities as a group or may be tailored to an individual town's needs.

People & Places Partnership has been engaged by East Suffolk Council to kick-start the work, which will help Aldeburgh, Felixstowe, Framlingham, Leiston, Saxmundham,

Wickham Market, Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth and Lowestoft.

The research will be used to support the council's strategic direction concerning town centres and will be used to influence decisions and work carried out by planners, the authority's economic development and regeneration team, assets service, active communities and housing sections.

A report to councillors said: "A methodology has been prepared by the People & Places Partnership as a basis for delivering survey work to create baseline evidence of issues to

underpin the revitalisation of East Suffolk town centres.

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"The project aims to develop joined-up thinking across all stakeholders for East Suffolk's town centres.

"The research will seek to consider the themes associated with the Future High Street Fund alongside other identified opportunities for securing investment including digital engagement.

"People and Places' work commenced in January with Framlingham being the first town to be completed. Framlingham was selected so that the findings could be used to support the digital towns project.

"The next town to be completed was Lowestoft, this was to allow the data to be used to support the Future High Streets fund application."

The 11 towns chosen for the project were selected because of their sizes in terms of the number of business units located in the communities.

Beccles and Bungay are to be completed next in the programme.

The report said: "To date the survey numbers completed have exceeded expectations and are providing some interesting findings.

"The council's Economic Development team is making a case to build a funding pot to allow projects to be developed on the back of the People and Places fund. This includes looking at external funding opportunities and utilising underspend from LABGI and core budget."

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