West Suffolk High Streets for clean sweep this Christmas and New Year

An additional programme of pressure washing and chewing gum removal is about to start this Sunday to encourage more visitors to West Suffolk town centres.

West Suffolk Council estimates it will spend more than £250,000 of Welcome Back funding which it successfully bid for to help local High Streets and the economy recover from the pandemic.

It is to be used on a series of projects and initiatives to encourage people to use their local High Streets in a COVID-19 safe way while helping the economy to recover.

Partners, including Business Improvement Districts and local councils, were consulted on what initiatives to take forward that met the strict criteria.

One of the lead responses from partners was for additional deep street cleaning and chewing gum removal, as well as improved landscape maintenance. This is to help further encourage visitors and make the town centres an even more welcome place to shop.

Sunday 12 December will see the start of an additional programme of pressure washing and chewing gum removal in West Suffolk towns. This will start in Bury St Edmunds and will be carried out across other West Suffolk towns over the coming weeks and months. Timing is dependent on weather and other conditions and more information on where the crews will be will be published as soon as it is known.

In addition, the Council has listened to feedback and have been putting out extra bins to help keep the area tidier.

There will also be a campaign encouraging people to back their local businesses while staying COVID-19 safe, this is an extension of the campaign the Council ran earlier in the year.

In addition, the Council will be supporting events, encouraging people to use our markets and additional promotions in the New Year around supporting local businesses and town centres.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities oversee the Welcome Back funding programme which originates from the European Regional Development Fund.

The aim of the Welcome Back Fund is to help councils prepare for the safe return of shoppers, diners and tourists as and when national COVID-19 restrictions allow.

Cllr Peter Stevens, Portfolio Holder for Operations, said: “West Suffolk Council has been successful in bidding for this funding which is designed to help encourage more people to visit and shop locally, welcoming them back to our High Streets. There are strict rules what this can be spent on and we have engaged with our partners to bring forward a range of initiatives including this deep clean to further encourage people into our already popular towns. We would encourage everyone to please support local town centres and businesses as well as keep COVID-19 safe. This is part of a wider programme of initiatives and events we have carried out during the pandemic from helping businesses access millions of pounds in grants to holding events such as Christmas in Bury St Edmunds.”