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Bury St Edmunds: Number of new homes proposed would ‘damage’ the town, a public inquiry has been told

10:12 30 January 2014

Meg Clibbon

Meg Clibbon

Mariam Ghaemi

The level of development proposed for Bury St Edmunds would damage the historic town, a former magistrate has said during a public inquiry.

Yesterday was the second day of the inquiry into St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Vision 2031 documents, which are the blueprint for future growth in the area.

Bury is expected to grow by about 6,000 new homes – a level which causes concern for a number of people. Former magistrate Meg Clibbon, from Bury, said the plans would see the town increase in size by 30%, adding the borough council should be trying to limit development in order to keep the town “vibrant and sustainable”.

“Vision 2031 puts too much strain on services so sustainability is not possible,” she said. “The impact of the plan would be to damage the town and therefore is not soundly based. I believe the objectives were based on a flawed original premise which is the number of houses needed.”

But independent planning inspector Roger Clews said he did not wish to mislead her that he had the power to limit the overall shape of development. He said: “The difficulty I have got in the examining of the Vision 2031 document, there has already been a substantial body of work in drawing up the Core Strategy for St Edmundsbury and that shapes the development and amount of development to be allocated in the borough.”

Mrs Clibbon suggested extra homes could be built in rural settlements to take the pressure off Bury, but Ian Poole, of the borough council, said putting the growth in the villages was not sustainable.

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