Cattle Market plan -

By Dave GooderhamTHE developers behind the £75million Cattle Market scheme said last night they were confident it will be given the go-ahead.More than 2,500 residents have made their opinions known about the plan to redevelop the site in Bury St Edmunds during a 10-day public exhibition.

By Dave Gooderham

THE developers behind the £75million Cattle Market scheme said last night they were confident it would be given the go-ahead.

More than 2,500 residents have made their opinions known about the plan to redevelop the site in Bury St Edmunds during a 10-day public exhibition.

The scheme will 35 new shops to the town - along with the development's centrepiece store, Debenhams, and a new public building. If approved, work would provisionally start next year with completion due in 2007.

But concerns have raged about the amount of car parking to be provided, with just under 300 spaces due to be axed, and the design of the scheme's flagship store.

However, Steve Bryson, spokesman for developers Centros Miller, said he was confident these fears could be overcome before St Edmundsbury Borough Council's discuss the scheme.

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Mr Bryson, who fielded questions and concerns from the public throughout the 10-day exhibition, added: "We are confident the scheme will go ahead, but we have to listen to people's views.

"We had a huge amount of interest, but the disappointing thing was that there was not enough response from the younger age group, which means we have not got a cross-section of views.

"The main issues to come out of the consultation were the link between the old and new parts of town and car parking."

More than 40,000 leaflets have also been distributed to homes throughout the St Edmundsbury district, explaining the scheme and allowing residents to voice their opinions.

Mr Bryson said he hoped these would be returned as soon as possible and urged residents, particularly people aged under 30, to reply to ensure the consultation was "truly representative".

He added: "You can't change some people's views as they are very strong and they are entitled to them.

"All we want to do is explain the facts behind the development and correct the myths as there have been quite a few mistaken assumptions."

Borough council officials have also moved to reassure critics that sufficient car parking will be supplied in other locations around Bury St Edmunds as well as the new development.

They were confident car parks in Ram Meadow, Parkway and St Andrew's Street North would be able to cope with demand for parking spaces.

The council's director of planning and transportation, Jerry Massey, said Bury St Edmunds was a vibrant town and it was essential to provide adequate car parking for shoppers and visitors.

"We appreciate people's anxiety, but there is a lot of misunderstanding about this issue. Car parks provide one of our biggest sources of revenue. It is not a question of numbers, but a question of how these spaces are used," he added.

n The East Anglian Daily Times is holding a special ballot to give readers the chance to share their views on the Cattle Market redevelopment project.

Ballot papers will be printed in the EADT during the next few weeks and votes can be cast at special ballot boxes in Court News, Glastonbury Road, Eastgate Stores, in Eastgate Street, and McColls, in Nowton Road's Harwicke Centre, all in Bury St Edmunds.

Responses can also be handed in or posted to the EADT's offices in Woolhall Street, Bury St Edmunds. The results of the ballot will be published later in the summer.

dave.gooderham@eadt.co.uk

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