Sudbury: ‘Stop knocking our town’ - it’s a great place to live
PUBLISHED: 09:07 23 June 2014 | UPDATED: 09:07 23 June 2014
Sudbury is a vibrant market town with great independent shops, a nationally significant art gallery and some of the finest scenery in Suffolk – that’s the defiant message coming from its community.
The town has come in for a lot of criticism in recent months for its “antiquated and confusing” traffic system, lack of night life and youth facilities, and failure to come up with a comprehensive holistic plan for its future.
But now local councillors, traders and residents have hit back, saying people should stop knocking Sudbury and instead celebrate the numerous aspects that make it such a great place to live and visit.
Chris Storey, chairman of Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s very hard to see much wrong with Sudbury compared to most places these days.
“It has a good vibe going with some really positive opportunities to get the future sorted out.
“Yes there is a move away from traditional independent shops and towards a café culture but that’s a national trend and on the whole, Sudbury is doing better than other places in terms of independent retailers, largely because of the free parking.
“It takes years to get infrastructure sorted out and it’s unrealistic to expect to address these things overnight. We are working away at the priority issues but in the meantime, let’s embrace what we have.”
Babergh’s lead member of economic development, Simon Barrett, agreed that people should focus on what’s good about Sudbury.
He said: “We have a real sense of community here in terms of the voluntary sector which is very big. Whenever there’s an appeal or a charity event, it gets well supported.
“It’s a pretty town too with the water meadows within walking distance of the town centre, a cricket club and bowls club in the middle of town.
“The negatives that people keep pointing out are things we can’t do anything about overnight. There is a long term plan but the issues have to be prioritised and tackled one at a time and that is what the local members are doing.”
Sudbury has just held its second hugely successful food and drink festival, which was fully booked out by producers looking to show their wares in the town.
An annual Party in the Park will take place in July, followed by a carnival in August and a firework display in November.
Deputy town clerk, Jacqui Howells said: “And these are just the events being organised in conjunction with the town council.
“The twice weekly market is bucking the trend and attracting new traders and there are also regular monthly farmers markets and speciality events.
“A free ‘Sudbury on Show’ booklet listing more than 100 clubs and societies in the local area is available from the town council, so no-one should be able to complain that there is nothing going on in Sudbury.”
Recently elected mayor, Robert Spivey added: “We have numerous attractions including St Peter’s Church right in the middle of town, which is the second most visited redundant church in the UK and hosts a diverse range of events.
“We also have the Quay Theatre and Gainsborough’s House, which is currently looking at ambitious expansion plans. I’d say we are very fortunate.”