Fears of 'shift' in Bury town centre

BUILDING projects such as a new council HQ and a supermarket could trigger a radical shift in the centre of Bury St Edmunds and spawn “major” congestion problems, it was claimed last night.

Laurence Cawley

BUILDING projects such as a new council HQ and a supermarket could trigger a radical shift in the centre of Bury St Edmunds and spawn “major” congestion problems, it was claimed last night.

Campaigners in the town already fear the forthcoming £100million “arc” retail scheme on the former Cattle Market site will drag visitors towards the west of the town.

But it is now claimed the centre of Bury St Edmunds could be further affected by the new public service village (PSV) and Asda store planned for Western Way and because landmarks of the traditional town centre - the council offices in Angel Hill, the county council offices in Shire Hall and, possibly, the Corn Exchange - were likely to be sold off.


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Last night, town centre manager Steve Peters said retailer interest in the town centre was unabated by current developments. But, he said, the key for the future was in making sure new developments were in addition to the town centre not at the expense of it.

He said: “The historical core has always been the centre for shopping. We just need to maintain people's interest in the historic core.”

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Mark Ereira, St Edmundsbury Borough Council's member for St Olaves, said: “My concern about this is we are reconfiguring the town centre, first with the Cattle Market and then with the public service village.”

He said the PSV scheme and Asda would also cause a significant increase in traffic in the area.

“There will be much more traffic there. It is going to be a major challenge - though there should be much better bus and cycleway provision.”

Market trader and Cattle Market campaigner Simon Harding said: “I am desperately worried for the future of the town.

“Everything seems to be geared towards the Cattle Market development and we've said all along that everything seems to be going as far to the west as it can.”

Ernie Broom, who led the campaign for a new Asda store in Western Way, said: “Traffic is a problem already and it is going to get worse. Hopefully the council has taken that into account.”

He said he was also concerned about new housing in the west of town and plans to sell off the town's current headquarters in Angel Hill.

A council spokesperson said: “A sustainable travel plan is being promoted to encourage our staff to look at alternatives to their cars when they move into West Suffolk House. This includes flexible working, public transport, cycling and a lift share forum.”

Nobody from Asda was available at the time of going to press.

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