Town set to bloom again

STOWMARKET is to enter a floral competition for the first time in many years as its mayor strives to encourage people to shop locally.

A MARKET town is to enter a floral competition for the first time in many years as its mayor strives to encourage people to shop locally.

Anne Whybrow, mayor of Stowmarket, said she wanted to see flowers on show throughout the town, including hanging baskets on shops, as the town prepares for Anglia in Bloom.

She is also planning for floral displays on roundabouts, using the colours from the town council's crest, and plants at all the town signs.

There will also be an extra drive to keep the town tidy as councillors and officers do all they can to help local retailers and attract people into shops and support local businesses.

Mrs Whybrow, who also serves as a Suffolk county councillor, said: “We are really going to go for this in 2009 - it has been several years since we have entered.

“We are going to put Stowmarket on the map with our floral displays and show the town for the beautiful place that it is.

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“This will help people to shop local, we want people to want to come here and see what we have to offer.”

George Dawson, chairman of the judges for Anglia in Bloom, said: “Entering shows that those who enter care about their community and the local environment.

“The moment the community takes the decision to enter, it can look forward to an exciting and rewarding year.

“It will improve and enhance the local area for residents and visitors and by bringing together all sections will engender a stronger sense of community. It is through this co-operation, with everyone working together, that amazing things can be achieved.”

The council has also appointed Jackie Regan, Stowmarket promotional officer, to help boost the town and attract more people to the community.

The move comes as car parking charges will be frozen for the coming year in Stowmarket a bid to encourage residents to shop local and support their independent town centre traders.

Tim Passmore, leader of Mid Suffolk District Council, has pledged the charges will remain at current levels in Stowmarket as retailers struggle to survive the recession in a town that has lost Woolworths and seen both M&S and, more recently, Waitrose pull out of multi-million pound deals to create new stores within the heart of the community.