Risbygate. Bury St Edmunds.

Bury St Edmunds: Plans for homes on shopping street criticised

Friday, November 16, 2012
11.10 AM

CONTROVERSIAL plans which could see 29 affordable flats built on a shopping street have been criticised by councillors, who have now called for amendments.

An application for 17 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom affordable homes in Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmunds, has been submitted to St Edmundsbury Borough Council by Havebury Housing Partnership.

The proposals to redevelop the former school yard car park site have previously been criticised by Risbygate Street Traders’ Association who said any development should have shops on the ground floor with residential accommodation above to encourage a “smooth flow of shoppers from The Arc, down Schoolyard and into Risbygate Street”.

Now town councillors, who considered the plans on Tuesday night, have asked for a “revised application” to prevent “overdevelopment”.

Bury town councillor Paul Farmer, said he wanted to see a scaled-down development, due to a lack of parking for 72 residents or visitors and to prevent overshadowing homes in Nelson Road.

Mr Farmer said: “I support affordable housing in the town centre, but not at the marked expense of Nelson Rd residents. I am obviously very pleased that the committee supported our objections and suggestions for improvement.”

The town council’s planning committee’s recommendations will, if ratified by full council on November 28, be passed on to St Edmundsbury Borough Council who determine the application.

In a letter supporting the application, which was made at the end of October, Kevin Marshall, the council’s senior housing development officer, said: “Opportunities for developing much needed affordable housing in Bury are limited and this sites’ close proximity to a range of services and employment opportunities provides for a very sustainable location.”

St Edmundsbury borough councillor Paul Hopfensperger, chairman of traders’ association, said the proposals were “simply not acceptable” would “totally upset” the balance of the area and “disrupt the shopping flow of the street”.

Havebury chief executive Karen Mayhew said: “Havebury is committed to providing much-needed affordable homes for those in housing need and this development of 29 one and two-bedroom homes in Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmunds, will go some way to doing this.”

n Also on Tuesday night, Bury St Edmunds Town Council’s finance committee supported a resolution to keep the authority’s element of next year’s council tax to no more than the current amount.