Bury St Edmunds: New settlement is suggested for extra homes

A NEW settlement has been suggested as a way to deal with future growth in the Bury St Edmunds area.

A campaign against an extra 5,900 homes in the town has been gathering pace over the summer, with a petition now revealing at least 1,200 signatures.

It was launched in response to St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Bury St Edmunds Vision 2031, which is a plan to guide and manage growth in the town over the next 20 years and beyond.

The proposals include 900 homes between the Howard estate in Bury and Fornham All Saints, 500 at Moreton Hall, 450 between Bury and Westley, 1,250 between Bury and Great Barton and 1,250 to the south-east of the town.

Councillor Trevor Beckwith, who organised the petition alongside councillors Mark Ereira and Craig Dearden-Phillips, said he would suggest a new settlement to accommodate the new homes, which is what they decided to do in Cambridge.

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He said: “We think they [St Edmundsbury Borough Council] are wrong. We think the numbers are wrong. We don’t think a 50,000 population lends itself to Bury St Edmunds. It’s currently 36,000 and we think 50,000 is wrong and would spoil the whole nature of the town.

“And it’s the impact on existing communities, whether it’s the Howard estate the Moreton Hall estate, Westley, Great Barton etc.”

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He added: “There is an alternative - a new settlement - but that seems to be beyond the comprehension of St Edmundsbury Borough Council.”

Mr Ereira added how he thought a new settlement should still be an option.

Mr Beckwith said the major area of public concern about the new homes proposals for Bury was the increased traffic gridlock.

He said: “I can’t stress highly enough that I have found so much support when speaking to people on the doorstep. Although it’s disappointing that, despite quite a lot of publicity, most people are unaware of the proposals, but I don’t think most see it as an immediate problem.”

Mr Beckwith said he had recently written to Grant Shapps, minister for housing and local Government, to ask the Government to intervene.

The borough council has said the housing is needed to meet population growth. A spokeswoman added: “The last round of Vision 2031 consultation closed on April 30 and we are now working our way through the 442 responses we received, noting their comments and considering how they may influence the proposals. We are working on bringing the new document back for consultation at the end of the year.”

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