Cattle Market plan facing new delay

WORK on an £85million project to bring new stores, homes and a public venue to a Suffolk town has been delayed by six months, it has been revealed.Contractors were due to move onto the Cattle Market site in Bury St Edmunds early next year, but construction is now not scheduled to start until September 2006.

WORK on an £85million project to bring new stores, homes and a public venue to a Suffolk town has been delayed by six months, it has been revealed.

Contractors were due to move onto the Cattle Market site in Bury St Edmunds early next year, but construction is now not scheduled to start until September 2006.

But developers masterminding the project insisted last night it would still go ahead.

The latest set-back - a result of more than 40 complicated planning conditions - means the project has been pushed back by a total of one year, as work was originally due to begin this summer.


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And the news comes just one day after the EADT revealed £2.7m has been spent on professional consultation fees since discussions surrounding the scheme first started.

Steve Bryson, spokesman for developers Centros Miller, said: "Following the planning go ahead in February, we have been working hard to ensure that all the planning conditions are fulfilled.

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"Our program has been amended to reflect this work and we are now confident of starting on site in late summer 2006, and look forward to finishing the development two years later.

"We have no doubts at all about the project. It is just a matter of a lot of hard work between now and our eventually delivery of the development."

Once complete, the scheme will boast 35 shop units, 56 residential flats, a Debenhams department store and a public venue.

However, Sheila Wormleighton, who sits on St Edmundsbury Borough Council's Cattle Market Redevelopment Working Party, claimed the latest delay would push up the costs of the £85m project.

"In fact, it is not a six month delay, as for every month of delay there is a disproportionate penalty which sets the project back by more than a month as things are knocked out of kilter," she said.

"It is disappointing, but in a sense this delay is self-inflicted. It was our own development control committee which set the conditions, but at the end of the day we need to get the scheme right.

"Any delay means there is a cost implication to it. The whole financial package is structured around a time scale and if you lose a month it simply costs money.

"A lot of work has been done to meet these requirements, but it is the planning and democratic process taking its toll."

Sir Reginald Harland, who lives in the town and has expressed long-standing concerns over parking provision within the project, said he was "delighted" with the delay.

"The start date has varied quite considerably so far," he said. "But I think the scheme will go ahead.

"It is much better to make all the changes before you start as it is far better to get it right first time.

"There is still an awful lot to be done. We have to make sure we have everything in place and this gives the council and developers a little more time to get things right."

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