Lowestoft town team bid is launched

SHOPKEEPERS and traders in Lowestoft have agreed this week to bid for up to �100,000 to attract more shoppers to the town and boost store's coffers.

The green light to bid for the town team pilot scheme money was made at a meeting organised by Waveney MP Peter Aldous to discuss applying for funding from the Department of Communities and Local Government.

Mr Aldous and 16 people attended the meeting on Monday at his constituency office in Surrey Street.

The meeting was organised after the government said it was looking to find 12 towns to share a �1m to funding to set up town teams to examine ways of protecting and supporting high streets.

The pilot scheme was set up after a high profile report on the future of high streets was published in December by Mary Portas, star of the BBC television programme Mary Queen of Scots.

As well as agreeing to apply for the town team funding, yesterday's group agreed to form a steering committee to explore ways in which Lowestoft could be seen as a top shopping destination.

Mr Aldous said the strong theme from the meeting, which also involved Waveney District Council, was 'smartening up and making the town centre an attractive and more enticing place.

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He added that as well as the town centre, other areas could be bolstered by the setting up of a town team - the South beach, the two piers, the Scores and Kirkley's main row of shops.

Mr Aldous said: 'We have decided we are going for the Portas pilot bid. The competition for the funding will be fierce.

'At the meeting there was clear determination that we have got a good story here in Lowestoft and we want to get it out there and tell it.'

Danny Steel, chairman of the Lowestoft High Street Traders' Association attended Tuesday's town team meeting.

He told the Journal that there were already plans to bolster trade in the town by making the High Street more attractive with new hanging baskets, holding more regular markets and organising a major Queen Jubilee celebrations.

Mr Steel said: 'What we have now is a nucleas which we can move forward to help Lowestoft. It may have been a bit sick, but it is getting better.'

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