D-day for town centre development

THE day of reckoning has arrived for a historic Suffolk town awaiting a decision on a multi-million pound redevelopment scheme.Residents in Bury St Edmunds will today be told the final outcome of a planning application set to transform the face of their town.

THE day of reckoning has arrived for a historic Suffolk town awaiting a decision on a multi-million pound redevelopment scheme.

Residents in Bury St Edmunds will today be told the final outcome of a planning application set to transform the face of their town.

If given the green light, the former Cattle Market site in Bury St Edmunds will be turned into a major shopping centre, costing £75million.

At 10am today, St Edmundsbury Borough councillors will determine the application – dubbed the most significant development in the town's history – during a special development and control committee meeting at the Athenaeum, on the town's Angel Hill.


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The plans, which were first mooted more than 20 years ago, include a new public building, big-name retail area, leaisure facilities, and new homes to satisfy the demands of the town's growing population.

Andrew Varley, chairman of the council's Cattle Market redevelopment working party, said the committee set to judge the application would be acting in the "very best interests of the borough".

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But despite the advanced stage of proceedings, some residents still believe there are fundamental issues that need to be addressed before the plans are approved.

Sir Reginald Harland said he would be attending the meeting on behalf of the Bury Society – which is just one of many groups locally to voice concerns over the plans.

"I very much hope that this application is not a foregone conclusion," he said.

"There are still a lot of gaps in the plans that need to be filled out. My biggest concern is the fact this scheme will not leave the town with enough car parking, and it is a question of ensuring the council takes these points into consideration when determining the application."

Committee members present at today's meeting will discuss in detail 12 main planning issues raised in the application, including design, archaeology, noise, nature conservation, the impact on listed buildings, pollution, parking, and accessibility.

Planning officers and objectors to the proposal will all get a chance to speak at the meeting before a final decision is made.

David Lockwood, vice-chairman of the development control committee, said: "The committee has spent a lot of time assessing the site other example's of the architect's work.

"No one that takes part in the committee meeting has been involved in the Cattle Market Working party in any way, and every issue raised in the application will be taken into consideration very carefully.

"This is a huge application, and is the biggest I have ever had to deal with since joining the committee in 1983."

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