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Bury St Edmunds: Public inquiry gets under way at the Apex into future growth of area

PUBLISHED: 13:05 28 January 2014 | UPDATED: 13:11 28 January 2014

An ariel view of Bury St Edmunds. Taken by Mike Page in 2012.

An ariel view of Bury St Edmunds. Taken by Mike Page in 2012.

© Mike Page all rights reserved. Before any use is made of this image including display, publication, broadcast, syndication or

A Government inspector has today begun a public inquiry into plans for future development in Bury St Edmunds which lay down the blueprint for about 6,000 new homes.

Roger Clews has been appointed by the Secretary of State as independent planning inspector to take charge of the examination of St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Vision 2031 documents.

The documents, which were compiled through three years of public consultation, detail specific sites which have been allocated for housing developments.

The inspector will be examining whether the documents - for Bury, Haverhill and the rural areas - are legally compliant and sound (fit for purpose).

At the start of the inquiry at the Apex in Bury Ian Poole, lead officer for the preparation of the Vision 2031 documents, gave an opening statement on behalf of the borough council.

He said the amount of growth was already fixed by the Core Strategy, and “still holds good today”.

“However, as you will have seen from representations submitted against Vision 2031, there remains a view by some that the planned growth is too much despite the population continuing to grow.

“We believe that policies in the Core Strategy hold good and are National Planning Policy Framework compliant. They are not up for review in this

examination but they have provided the context for the detailed policies in the Vision documents before you.”

He said the council considered the documents were sound, but there would be groups or individuals represented at the sessions who would probably disagree.

He added: “The divergent views that you will hear demonstrate amply that it is simply not possible to agree with everyone or that many of the strategic decisions have already been made.

“Ultimately the council has to make a judgement on those issues where the consultation responses are irreconcilable.”

Tomorrow will look at issues including whether the development proposals for Bury are based on a sound analysis of the traffic consequences and will also focus on the five key sites around the town which have been allocated for housing.

Thursday will deal with matters including whether there should be any development at all on land west of Bury’s Rougham Road, known as the Leg of Mutton.

Both of the sessions tomorrow and on Thursday will take place at the Apex in Bury.

The hearings are open to the public, but they will not be able to take an active part unless the inspector has previously invited them to do so.

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