No fears for Cattle Market project
OFFICIALS masterminding a £75m town centre retail redevelopment have underlined their confidence in the scheme, saying possible legal action which could delay the project is “not anticipated.
OFFICIALS masterminding a £75m town centre retail redevelopment have underlined their confidence in the scheme, saying possible legal action which could delay the project is “not anticipated.”
Bosses say high levels of public consultation over plans to build shops, flats and an entertainment venue on the derelict Cattle Market site in Bury St Edmunds showed the “silent majority” were keen to see work begin.
But residents campaigning for extra car parking provision within the project have warned a judicial review examining the scheme is a very real possibility – should their views go unheard over the coming months.
However, speaking yesterday, Sheila Wormleighton, of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, confirmed she did not anticipate any legal action would take place – and urged those in support of the project to speak up.
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“A judicial review is not something we are anticipating as a reality, and we are confident the scheme is good enough,” said Mrs Wormleighton, vice-chairman of the council's Cattle Market Redevelopment Working Party.
“If we were not confident that this was the right way to be going, and what the silent majority wanted, we would have withdrawn from this a long time ago.
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“The scheme has been subject to the widest consultation to get to this point – larger than the developers have ever undertaken anywhere else.
“The inclusion of a venue is a direct result of the consultation process with the community. When the borough council looked into developing the area 15 or so years ago, there was never a question of a public hall being included. This time, the message came back very clearly from the consultation that people wanted a better facility in the town.
“It would be heartening for those of us who have battled with this, and good for the town in every sense if there was a really positive statement coming from the community at the next stage of the consultation.”
However, Sir Reginald Harland, who lives in the town, described a judicial review as “naturally a possibility” – but stressed he hoped the process would not go this far.
“Hopefully some common sense may strike people suddenly,” he said. “You have got to take notice of the fact that there will be more people working in the shops, more people coming to the shops.
“You must also allow for the fact that the population is bigger, and lots more houses are planned for Westley as part of the local plan.”
He added that the borough council had proceeded with the plans despite warnings that a lack of car parking and an increase in retail provision would lead to traffic problems at peak times.
A final public consultation relating to plans for the site is to take place over the coming two months, when questionnaires will be sent to every home in the area.
An exhibition outlining the designs in more detail will also be held, with a telephone hotline set up to make it easier for people to share their views. The scheme is expected to win planning permission
For more details, see www.burysteds.org.uk