Bury St Edmunds: Response to development ‘ignores’ road concerns

St Edmundsbury Borough Council is consulting on Vision 2031

St Edmundsbury Borough Council is consulting on Vision 2031 - Credit: Archant

A response to a development programme that could see almost 6,000 homes built in a west Suffolk town has been accused of ‘ignoring’ deep concerns about the impact on roads and infrastructure.

The cabinet of Suffolk County Council are expected to back St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Vision 31 document when they meet on Tuesday at West Suffolk House.

The plans include a new school, 900 homes between the Howard Estate and Fornham All Saints, 500 homes for Moreton Hall, 1,250 between Bury and Great Barton and 1,250 to the south-east of the town and 450 to the west of the town.

Mark Ereira, who represents Tower, said there was no real plans to mitigate what officers had themselves identified as “severe negative impacts” on routes of “local and national significance”.

He added: “It looks like they’ve resolved to ignore these widespread concerns, preferring to concrete over the countryside with more housing than is required to meet local demand/needs and bring unsustainable development/misery to current residents and future generations. The constant rapacious rush to develop in the name of economic growth and encouraging inane internal migration means the magic and tranquillity of a perfectly contented and well-functioning market town will be lost forever.”

Trevor Beckwith, of Eastgate and Moreton Hall, said the council were relying on people switching to buses and bikes but had no detailed strategy.

He added: “They appear to be saying they’ll deal with it when it gets to the planning application stage, well that’s far too late to deal with issues and find out you haven’t got adequate roads, adequate parking and all the rest of the infrastructure. They’re saying there’s going to be problems but there’s nothing they are going to do about it.”

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Mr Beckwith said he wanted the cabinet to oppose the Vision 31 document and added he would prefer to see the creation of a new town rather than houses “tagged on” to existing developments.

Councillor Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for roads and transport, said: “Bury St Edmunds is a thriving market town and it is predicted that it is likely to continue to grow. From the work carried out by our officers into the potential impact on infrastructure, we are advising St Edmundsbury Borough Council that provided future developers are required to make appropriate improvements to the town’s infrastructure; it will cope with an increased population.

“However we will also be making additional recommendations to strengthen Bury St Edmund’s Vision 2031 in terms of further traffic management through providing more opportunities for alternative sustainable modes of transport.”

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