Sudbury bus station campaigners to fight on despite Borehamgate Precinct purchase

Babergh councillors Simon Barrett and David Holland (right) at Borehamgate shopping centre

Babergh councillors Simon Barrett and David Holland (right) at Borehamgate shopping centre - Credit: Gregg Brown

Opponents of moving Sudbury’s bus station to Girling Street have disputed claims it would be impossible to make the current site part of a multi-million-pound regeneration of Hamilton Road.

Teresa Bishop - leader of new Sudbury protest group Save Our Bus Station (SOBS) - is out collecting

Teresa Bishop - leader of new Sudbury protest group Save Our Bus Station (SOBS) - is out collecting signatures for a petition in Market Hill. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Babergh District Council yesterday completed the purchase of the Borehamgate Precinct as it moves towards a rejuvenation of the site incorporating cafes, shops, flats and a potential cinema. This brings the total spend on the project so far up to £5million.

The purchase came as campaigners took to the streets with a petition asking for the bus station to remain in Hamilton Road.

The move has divided residents and shoppers, with protesters vociferous that the vast majority object to the Girling Street move.

However, Babergh buying the precinct has now nullified a legally-binding covenant protesters hoped would scupper the move.

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Rumour was rife the council was purchasing the site but the EADT exclusively revealed the council’s purchase in yesterday’s paper.

Reacting to the news, Teresa Bishop, the chairman of the Save Our Bus Station campaign group said: “I’m glad they’ve come clean and told people they’ve actually bought it.

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“I still don’t see why you can’t have a development with a bus station.”

She said she did not see “any problem” with a cinema coming to Sudbury but insisted the bus station should be included.

“It could actually be made smaller and it would fit in very well with the development,” she said.

“The people of Sudbury don’t want it in Girling Street, that’s what it comes down to at the end of the day.”

Cabinet member and deputy leader Simon Barrett has already said vast amounts of data and evidence had been collected, proving the rejuvenation would not work if a third of the site was given over to a bus station.

Speaking on Wednesday before the news was officially announced, Mr Barrett said: “Every time we try to change anything there’s some sort of campaign to stop it.

“I find it slightly frustrating. We need to move forward and to do that we need a certain amount of change. What I find frustrating is people are so narrow in their view. We try to look at every angle.”

He said the council was not doing it because it had any sort of “vested interest”, which some people appeared to believe.

Town councillor Ellen Murphy said she was annoyed residents had not been consulted on whether they wanted the council to buy the site.

“I’ve not got a problem with Borehamgate being redeveloped, but what I think they needed to do first is tell us what they want to do with it, not just go and buy it,” she said.

She claimed the council had been buying parts of the precinct “piecemeal”.

“That’s not good enough,” she said. “Surely we should look at the site first.”

The Save Our Bus Station group collected 599 signatures on Thursday on Market Hill. More than 200 people have signed the petition online.

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