Council chiefs swap ‘link’ for land plot

COUNCIL chiefs abandoned demands for a long-pledged multi-million pound link joining two shopping areas in a Suffolk town for a land plot worth just �750,000, it has emerged.

For years St Edmundsbury Borough Council had pledged to get a link built between the historic town centre of Bury St Edmunds and the new Arc shopping centre.

In April the EADT exclusively revealed how the council was close to signing a deal with Arc developer Centros which would see the link – originally proposed as a five metre wide passage in Market Thoroughfare – axed.

The council has now revealed details of what it will receive instead of the link, which was thought to be worth about �6million.

The council will be given a plot in School Yard East and West, off Risbygate Street, which the authority claims could be sold off immediately for housing.

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The value of the plot is estimated to be about �750,000.

Defending the move, council leader John Griffiths said: “It was Centros, not the council, who were able, committed, and intended to widen the link.

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“Once it became clear that Centros were not going to make the anticipated profits on the Arc necessary to widen Market Thoroughfare, the borough council tried everything – including the use of a compulsory purchase order – to force them to do so.

“But frankly, today’s economic conditions are very different to those many years ago when we started this process, and have made this impossible.

“That said, we have managed to get some considerable benefit for the town and council tax payers from Centros.”

Green council member Mark Ereira said: “It is a profound disappointment and it has left the town and the community without the link.

“I believe we’ve now got to move on.”

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