Bury St Edmunds: Review suggests burying parking spaces

A view of Angel Hill

A view of Angel Hill - Credit: Archant

THE building of an underground car park would prevent a historic town centre being blighted by traffic, a report has claimed.

The measure, which would see 100 spaces in Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds, sunk to create a public space, is one of eight recommendations made following a study commissioned by the Churchgate Area Association (CAA).

Leaders of the CAA said the research was motivated by their belief that plans for housing outlined in the Bury St Edmunds Vision 2031 document did not put sufficient emphasis on traffic growth. The resulting 45 page document, which was co-authored by Cambridge MPhil student Elle Ramel, has now been presented to Suffolk County Council.

Andrew Hinchley, chairman of the CAA, said: “When the 2031 proposals first came out it was obvious from the documents that there was 30% growth in the town but without, certainly then, no particular promises or commitments about how to deal with that number of extra people, cars, traffic, etc.”

Mr Hinchley said although there was a limit to what people would accept when it came to limiting cars, high volumes of parked vehicles in the centre of town was detrimental to its character.

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He added: “Angel Hill should not be covered in cars. It is a great public square and we want to encourage the view of Bury as a place to be and place to be nurtured and looked after. We have rather allowed cars to flood the centre of Bury.”

The CAA recommendations also include the phasing in of a pedestrian area in the Buttermarket while suggesting that Bury’s medieval grid is transformed into a shared space zone to create more footfall for businesses and create a quieter environment for those living in the area. Other recommendations include providing a ‘hoppa bus’ to shuttle people from the market to car parks and an investigation of placing park and ride sites in five potential developments in Bury St Edmunds.

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Mr Hinchley said although the CAA have been informed their report is unlikely to be included in Vision 2031 he hoped it would stimulate debate.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “We have received a copy of the report and our officers will be reviewing its content in detail.”

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