Park and ride 'essential' for town

AN MP has called for urgent action over the introduction of a park and ride scheme after fresh delays hit the “essential” initiative.

Will Clarke

AN MP has called for urgent action over the introduction of a park and ride scheme after fresh delays hit the “essential” initiative.

David Ruffley, MP for Bury St Edmunds, expressed his concern at delays to the town's park and ride service in the light of recent gridlock in the town.

Last week, drivers were trapped in snarl-ups after a sewer collapsed beneath one of the town's main roads.

And yesterday it was revealed a park and ride stake holder meeting - which was going to be held on November 21 - had been postponed.

Consultants Mouchel Parkman were commissioned in the summer of 2007 to produce a report on a scheme for Bury by Suffolk County Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

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They were originally expected to produce a draft report by last Christmas, but it was not sent to the councils until the summer.

Mr Ruffley said: “I have been urging both the county and borough councils to get on with a park and ride scheme in Bury for years.

“We need a sense of urgency here. It's not good enough to allow delay after delay to occur. This report should have been presented months ago.

“The need for a park and ride scheme is getting more urgent. This week's gridlock as a result of a collapsed sewer in Tayfen Road demonstrates the need to reduce the amount of traffic in Bury town centre.

“I call on both Suffolk County Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council to inject some urgency into this issue before Bury grinds to a halt.”

Guy McGregor, county portfolio holder for transport, said the meeting had to be postponed because certain stakeholders were not able to make the date and he did not want the scheme to go off “half cocked”.

“We are looking at various options and the consultants have been working on various ideas,” he said.

“It wasn't possible to get all the interested parties together - it is as simple as that.

“These are difficult schemes. We would rather have the results earlier than later but I would like to make clear it is a report for us to consider. We have got to look at what is possible.”

A spokeswoman for the borough council said: “A study will be presented in the New Year. Once the results have been discussed, a decision will be made.”

The meeting, organised by Suffolk County Council working as the lead authority, is now set to take place in the New Year but no date has yet been set. The temporary Christmas bus service in Bury is due to run as normal.

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