New policy aims to improve look of town’s High Street

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Big changes could be on the way for the look of shop fronts in Newmarket High Street if a new guide is adopted.

The guide, which has been drawn up following pressure from Newmarket town councillors and members of the Newmarket Vision Group aims to encourage shop owners to keep their premises’ fronts more in keeping with Newmarket’s image as a historic market town.

To date, councillors have been powerless to impose any guidelines on how shops or advertising should look but the new guide offers advice about appropriate design for traditional and modern shop fronts and gives councillors more leverage when they consider planning applications.

Forest Heath District Council’s neighbouring authority St Edmundsbury Borough Council has its own shop fronts policy and this has been adapted to be used in Forest Heath, providing clear planning advice and guidance to those responsible for designing or changing shop fronts.

“This guide provides very clear advice to help retailers, landlords and agents through the planning process which will enhance our shopping areas and help to boost the economy of West Suffolk,” said Cllr David Bowman, Forest Heath cabinet member for economic development and tourism.

“A shop front is the first impression that a potential customer will have of a business and is also an integral part of the overall look of a shopping street.”

The consultation runs until 5pm on Friday January 9. Go to http://westsuffolk.jdi- consult.net/localplan/ for de tails and to have your say.