Actress attacks cattle market proposals

RENOWNED actress and playwright Imogen Stubbs has attacked proposals for a multi-million pound redevelopment in a historic Suffolk town.Miss Stubbs, who has appeared in the hit film Sense and Sensibility, a TV dramatisation of The Rainbow, and last year's Old Vic production of Hamlet, hit out at St Edmundsbury Borough Council's £80 million Cattle Market redevelopment plans.

RENOWNED actress and playwright Imogen Stubbs has attacked proposals for a multi-million pound redevelopment in a historic Suffolk town.

Miss Stubbs, who has appeared in the hit film Sense and Sensibility, a TV dramatisation of The Rainbow, and last year's Old Vic production of Hamlet, hit out at St Edmundsbury Borough Council's £80 million Cattle Market redevelopment plans.

She described the proposed development as “somewhere between a Wild West film set and beach huts on stilts,” and said she was “horrified” to see the development - in particular a proposed new arts and entertainment venue - “foisted” upon Bury St Edmunds.

Her comments were made in her column in a national newspaper, where she likened the Cattle Market plans to the theme of her husband Trevor Nunn's stage production of Victoria Wood's Acorn Antiques, The Musical.

In the musical a provincial town is threatened with an influx of national chain stores, which she likens to the nightmarish vision of Aldous Huxley's novel Brave New World.

Miss Stubbs was inspired to attack the council after a recent visit to relatives who had moved to Bury St Edmunds for its beauty and individual character.

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She said: “The town already has a beautiful listed Corn Exchange that offers entertainment and might benefit from an elegant conversion.

“But it is proposing to take away the building's entertainment potential to help prop up finances of the development.”

Miss Stubbs also said the council was ignoring the results of a Bury Town Council ballot held at the request of 10 residents, which showed 81% opposition to the scheme - but with only a 7% turn out.

She added: “So much for democracy - Stalin lives on in Bury St Edmunds.”

Council leader John Griffiths said: “I did see the article and I thought it a fairly poorly informed and one-sided piece and I haven't seen Stalin in Bury St Edmunds recently.”

John Deane-Bowers, a member of the campaigning Group of 32, which also opposes the plans, said: “I think she's taken a rather simplistic view of the circumstances, a snapshot which is a little unfair, although the criticism has been made of this proposed development that the interests of the developers have been put before those of various concerned bodies.

“I feel fundamentally that if she highlights the fact that the Cattle Market is a lost opportunity, that's no bad thing.”

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