Bury St Edmunds: Traders’ boss pledges to fight plans for flats

THE chairman of a traders’ group has said he is determined to fight plans for a block of flats on a main shopping street.

An application for 29 one-bedroom and two-bedroom affordable homes in Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmunds, is currently being prepared by Havebury Housing Partnership.

But St Edmundsbury borough councillor Paul Hopfensperger, chairman of Risbygate Street Traders’ Association, said the proposals were “simply not acceptable” and defied everything the group had worked towards for the last eight years.

Mr Hopfensperger said the association had repeatedly pushed for a development that had shops on the ground floor with residential accommodation above to encourage a “smooth flow of shoppers from The Arc, down Schoolyard and into Risbygate Street”.

In a letter of objection to Havebury, who unveiled their plans at a drop-in consultation at The Apex in the town, the business boss said he had even met with a representative from the housing partnership who assured him his concerns would be treated seriously.

Mr Hopfensperger said the homes would “totally upset” the balance of the area and “disrupt the shopping flow of the street”.

He added: “Cupola House has burned down but you would not stick housing there.

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“Well, we’re a main shopping street but they are considering putting houses there. I am not against the principle of housing, but it has to be flats above shops.”

Havebury chief executive Karen Mayhew said: “Havebury is committed to providing much-needed affordable homes for those in housing need and this development of 29 one and two-bedroom homes in Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmunds, will go some way to doing this.

“We are short of town-centre properties and these new homes may encourage tenants who are currently under-occupying larger homes to move.

“This will give us the chance to help other local families live in their own home.

“Our contract with the Homes & Communities Agency for the Affordable Homes Programme 2012-2015 will see us, along with our partners, build 294 new homes over a four-year period.”

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