Cautious welcome for undeground parking

AMBITIOUS plans to accommodate the changing face of a historic Suffolk town have received a cautious welcome from residents.A 200-space underground car park – regarded as vital to the Cattle Market development in Bury St Edmunds – moved a step closer after the borough council gave the £3.

AMBITIOUS plans to accommodate the changing face of a historic Suffolk town have received a cautious welcome from residents.

A 200-space underground car park – regarded as vital to the Cattle Market development in Bury St Edmunds – moved a step closer after the borough council gave the £3.4 million scheme the go-ahead.

But residents believe the car park will be too small and could mean shoppers ignore the town and take their custom to Ipswich or Norwich.

Anthony Platt, part of a group of residents set up to fight the original Cattle Market plans, said: "We are pleased to see the council has agreed to underground car parking.


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"But 200 spaces isn't enough and we are disappointed that the council don't seem to know how they are going to solve the problem.

"Without good car parking, I am not sure if they are going to get enough people into Bury St Edmunds for the expansion.

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"We feel underground parking is more aesthetic and the only way you can stow enough cars in the centre of the town to make a difference."

But the man spearheading the development said he didn't feel there was enough justification to build an extra 200 or 400 spaces.

Andrew Varley, chairman of the council's Cattle Market redevelopment working party, said: "I think it is absolutely the right decision as it will provide good surface and underground car parking for the Cattle Market development and it will also contribute to the public entertainment venue.

"The council felt it was not justifiable to spend millions on having vast underground car parking because we think it is quite wrong to bring that many cars into the centre of a historic town.

"The issue of car parking has been debated for a long time but we have taken the best advice in the country and we feel this is the best way forward.

"There may be some comeback from our decision but I think when people understand all the implications they will agree with the council.

"I think we have taken a sensible decision which will benefit residents, businesses and visitors to the town."

St Edmundsbury Borough Council's cabinet recommended the plans on Thursday and the issue will now be discussed by the full council later this month.

Last month, the public were given a tantalising glimpse of how the Cattle Market development might look when it is completed early in 2007.

The images showed a glass-fronted £16 million public building at the heart of the development nestled alongside shops, flats and a flagship Debenhams department store on the Kings Road side of the site.

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