Final version of Bury St Edmunds masterplan to go before councillors next month
- Credit: DAVID LOCK ASSOC
A final version of the Bury St Edmunds masterplan which looks to shape the future of the town centre will go before councillors next month.
The multi-million pound plan for the town included removing buses and traffic from behind the Arc shopping centre and the creation of a pedestrianised Cornhill and Buttermarket.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council says the majority of public responses were in favour of the proposals for eight of the nine core areas included in the plan.
The majority of objections related to the redevelopment of the bus station in St Andrews Quarter and the council says the revised masterplan now includes the improvement of bus access and facilities for the town.
The borough council held 20 events across two periods of engagement, which resulted in more than 8,000 public comments and subsequent amendments to the document.
In an initial consultation from February to April, 1,100 responses and nearly 6,000 indvidual comments were received after people were asked to identify challenges facing the town centre.
Public suggestions including the pedestrianisation of the Buttermarket and Cornhill were then brought together in the shape of a draft masterplan which saw 400 responses and more than 2,000 comments.
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Councillor Alaric Pugh, chairman of the masterplan working group, said: “We have sought to engage as many people as possible in shaping this masterplan by taking it to them in the supermarkets, the market, the library and other venues. We engaged more than 24,000 local residents through social media and encouraged everyone, whether a town resident, worker, shopper or visitor to have their say about their town centre.
“We have listened. The plan has been amended accordingly, but the journey doesn’t end here.
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“We recognise for instance, that despite the call for pedestrianisation coming from and being backed by the majority of those who took part in this, that there are concerns from those who represent local businesses.
“The masterplan has set the vision, the ambition and the direction for what people want their town to become, but of course we need to be careful that this achieves what it set out to do – ensuring the success of our town centre for years to come as a place people use for work, leisure, to shop and to live in.
“So there will be considerable further work, including research and consultation, to investigate the impact of different types of improvements for pedestrians and optimal use of town centre space for all users including, very importantly, all businesses.
“That is why, if the masterplan receives full council endorsement as I hope it will, we will have a delivery plan and we will be forming a delivery group with our partners, to look at who will bring forward each scheme – for instance will it be something that the council enables by speaking to private landowners and investors or do others have particular interests and responsibilities.
“That delivery plan will also spell out which of these projects will be prioritised, which will be longer term ambitions, and who we will consult as we look to take each project forward.
“The masterplan has been developed by listening to people and acting on what they say, we look forward to further public involvement of this kind as each project moves forward. It’s your town has never seemed a truer slogan.”
On Tuesday, December 5, St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s cabinet will be recommended to approve that the revised masterplan go to full council to adopt on December 19.