Stowmarket Town Centre Partnership subject to review after funding was pulled and complaints were made

Stowmarket's Market Place is a key shopping area in the town

Stowmarket's Market Place is a key shopping area in the town

A town centre management group which disbanded two months ago after funding was pulled is subject to a review, the EADT has learned.

The Stowmarket Town Centre Partnership, a group tasked with increasing shopper numbers in the town and help small retailers get off the ground, received £180,000 in public funding over its three year existence.

Despite it ceasing work in November, it has now emerged Mid Suffolk District Council is carrying out inquiries into the organisation after a complaint was made.

It follows a separate investigation which was held last year by solicitors acting on behalf of Stowmarket Town Council.

But Sharon Brown, who was town centre manager at STCP, vehemently denied the complaints had any merit. She said the complaints were “complete rubbish”.

She said: “I’ve never heard such nonsense.”

The complaints centred on the the Style@Stow shop, which the partnership ran in Bury Street and hosted “pop-up” businesses.

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David Blackburn, clerk for the town council, said: “Various matters were brought to our attention by local people regarding town centre management. We have investigated them fully and conveyed our findings clearly, and in confidence, to all the parties who participated in the review, including the board of the town centre partnership.”

The partnership folded in November after its grants – from town, district and county councils were all phased out.

A Mid Suffolk District Council spokeswoman confirmed the authority was currently carrying out a review. She said: “The council is still carrying out some initial enquiries to look into the complaints being made, it is still ongoing, we have nothing more that we can say until they have concluded and looked at the outcome.”

Tony Hutchinson had been chairman of the partnership when the complaints were made.

He said: “I am happy with what we did in terms of the investigation that was carried out; the problem with investigations is that you are never going to satisfy everyone.”