Cash bid hope for Brandon

A north Suffolk town could be about to make up for the disappointment of missing out on Portas Pilot funding, by receiving �10,000 of government money for town centre improvements.

The Total Brandon town team has applied to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) for the sum which could be used to promote the town centre, shop makeovers, transport and a more pedestrian-friendly High Street.

The team, made up of town, district and county councillors for Brandon, was one of 400 from towns across the country that applied to be among 12 towns chosen to receive �80,000 funding from the Portas Pilots scheme set up by town centre guru and TV star Mary Portas to provide cash for town centre improvements.

However, the Brandon team’s Portas bid was unsuccessful, so the team has instead opted for the DCLG money, which will be match funded by Forest Heath District Council and other partners.

The funding will be used to provide community transport for the retired population who may struggle with getting to the shops and a lottery funding bid has also been made to enhance the visual appeal of the High Street with hanging baskets and new street furniture.

A “Brandon is Brilliant” Campaign will be launched to entice local people to the variety of shops and services available on the High Street and a retail enhancement scheme, which will be funded with Forest Heath District Council and local shops, will provide makeovers for independent stores.

Town council chairman Reg Silvester said: “I want more to be done to brighten the town centre up and encourage more people into town. We seem to have lost a lot of control to fast food outlets in the town.”