Councillor's angry reaction to demands

A PROMINENT councillor has reacted angrily to "naïve" demands to hold back a £500m edge-of-town development which he said could jeopardise plans to create hundreds of new homes and jobs.

A PROMINENT councillor has reacted angrily to "naïve" demands to hold back a £500m edge-of-town development which he said could jeopardise plans to create hundreds of new homes and jobs.

Several councillors in Sudbury and local preservation group Sudbury Society have called for the massive development plan, which could see 700 new homes and 20 new factories built in the Chilton area of the town by 2006, to be halted.

Babergh District Councillor Martyn Booth, who lives in the Ballingdon area of Sudbury, has led the calls for the development to be held back following the Government's decision to refuse plans for a £30m bypass around the town.

It is unlikely the Government will reconsider the bypass scheme until 2016 and Mr Booth says the Chilton development must now be delayed until the town has a guarantee of a major relief road to take vehicles out of its traffic-choked streets.


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Several town councillors have supported Mr Booth fearing the town will be unable to cope with the extra traffic generated by the Chilton development.

But Suffolk county, Babergh district and Sudbury town councillor Nick Irwin has labelled those trying to block the proposals at Chilton as "naïve and short-sighted."

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He said: "This development is crucial to the economic wealth and wellbeing of the town. It will create at least 500 new jobs and provide much-needed affordable housing.

"We have a duty to the younger generations to provide job opportunities and homes in the town they have grown up in. The situation for starter homes in Sudbury is dire and we need to do something about it to keep people in the town. All we will achieve by delaying the Chilton development is to drive yet more local people away.

"Those who want to delay this scheme are not thinking about the good of Sudbury as a whole, they are just thinking about the traffic in a small part of town, such as in Ballingdon where residents only seem to be interested in preserving their historic homes.

"If this development does cause more traffic surely that will improve our case for the bypass. It would be ridiculous to hold back this scheme until 2016 because it will provide jobs and homes that local people are in desperate need of."

Suffolk County Council has already signed contracts with the Ashwell Property Group to steer forward the 270-acre development, which would also include a new primary school, leisure facilities and a small shopping complex.

It is included in Babergh District Council's local plan and it is hoped work will start by 2006, subject to a public inquiry in October.

In 2001 Babergh District Council placed a veto on the development until a guarantee for a bypass was secured. This was later removed after councillors said it must work with the county council to ensure the economic growth of the area.

Sudbury Town Council will discuss Mr Booth's call for the veto to be recalled when it meets next month.

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