Public meeting to discuss Halesworth’s Portas bid

THE group behind a bid to revitalise Halesworth has come up with a wide range of ideas to help secure a share of a one-million-pound fund – but members are keeping them all close their chests.

The Halesworth Town Centre Group is driving the town's bid for money from the Portas Pilot Town scheme, but with other towns across Suffolk chasing the funding, it is keeping its ideas to itself for now.

Laura Churchill, who is leading the bid, said: 'It is going really well. We have had lots of support from local businesses and traders and some great support from Waveney District Council, Halesworth Town Council, and the Halesworth and Blyth Valley partnership.'

On Wednesday members of the bid joined together to go through initial ideas as they put together their application form.

They are intending to present their ideas to the town in a public meeting at The Cut on Tuesday, March 27 at 6pm.

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They are applying for the scheme which has been set up by retail guru Mary Portas and the government to invest in regeneration projects for up to 12 locations across England.

Each chosen town or city could receive up to �100,000 and advice from Ms Portas and a team of retail experts.

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Mrs Churchill, who runs Bluebird Vintage, in Bridge Street, said that with a range of other towns applying for the money, including Lowestoft, and a joint bid from Framlingham, Leiston, Aldeburgh and Saxmundham, their group is keeping their ideas close to their chests.

She said: 'Those helping us have been very impressed, we really have got some great ideas to turn Halesworth into a destination location and improve certain parts of the town.'

She added that the whole scheme had been a good exercise for uniting the town to see what they could do to help promote the town.

'I think Halesworth is very unique. We are not dominated by one big retailer, we are a place for quality local produce and want to become a sustainable town,' she said.

'We want people to come not just to shop but for the whole experience of a market town and we are the epitome of a British market town.'

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