Fears for town's future prosperity

By Lisa CleverdonA TOWN'S economy could crumble in a matter of years unless serious changes are made to future business development and infrastructure.

By Lisa Cleverdon

A TOWN'S economy could crumble in a matter of years unless serious changes are made to future business development and infrastructure.

That was the warning sounded by Bury St Edmunds Chamber of Commerce members, who fear the future of the town could hang in the balance unless provision was made for industrial expansion and an overhaul of its access roads.

The chamber's chairman, Chrissy Harrod, said forward thinking and a clear plan for the future were needed to save town.

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Chamber members held a meeting with David Ruffley, the Conservative MP for Bury St Edmunds, on Friday to voice their concerns on many issues, including local businesses being unable to expand because of a lack of industrial land in the town.

"We have got many up and coming businesses in the town, as well as established ones, but they need to be able to expand and move into bigger premises, but at the moment people are finding it very difficult to be able to do that," said Mrs Harrod.

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"If we do not tackle this problem, then we will start to see businesses move out of the area, which would be a disaster for the local economy.

"We need these businesses to stay, especially the big ones, as not only do they provide employment for local people, but they are very supportive of the town and help with sponsorship of various events - and Bury will suffer if we do not make provision for them."

As well as a lack of industrial development, members cited the A14 as another area of major concern.

They warned the Bury St Edmunds interchanges would be gridlocked within a decade if nothing was done and local businesses would be destroyed as a result.

"There is no point having the land available for new businesses if the town's access is inadequate," said Mrs Harrod.

"If we do not get our roads right, then all the rest of it is worth nothing. We need to get together with the borough council and take a serious look at the town's infrastructure.

"We want people to look at this positively and realise that these issues will only become a problem if nothing is done about them,and that we need to act now rather than leaving it until it is too late."

Mr Ruffley said he had listened carefully to what members of the chamber of commerce had had to say on the town's issues.

"I am most concerned about the future of the town's business land and the interchanges and I have held high level meetings with St Edmundsbury Borough Council to keep the pressure on them," he added.

"It is essential that the town attracts some new businesses and sites must be made available to accommodate them. We must also ensure the infrastructure is capable of supporting a sensible, controlled expansion of Bury's business community."


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