Police face complaint after protest
POLICE have pledged to investigate any complaints about their handling of a public protest against a massive development in a Suffolk town.Protester Diana Goss said she felt shocked and humiliated after an officer pushed and physically escorted her away from the centre of a 200-strong gathering against the Cattle Market development in Bury St Edmunds.
POLICE have pledged to investigate any complaints about their handling of a public protest against a massive development in a Suffolk town.
Protester Diana Goss said she felt shocked and humiliated after an officer pushed and physically escorted her away from the centre of a 200-strong gathering against the Cattle Market development in Bury St Edmunds.
Mrs Goss, from Whiting Street in Bury, said she planned to file an official complaint against Suffolk police, who she claimed acted unreasonably.
The drama unfolded as residents, business owners and market traders joined forces to have their say against the multi-million pound retail and leisure scheme, which is now underway on the site of the historic cattle market.
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The protest coincided with a meeting of St Edmundsbury borough councillors and representatives from Centros Miller and Taylor Woodrow Construction for the official launch of work on the development - nearly 20 years after it was first mooted.
But the anticipation of the long-awaited scheme has been replaced with anger and frustration for many who fear the development could spell disaster for the historic town.
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“We moved to Bury two years ago because it was such a lovely market town, but I think the development has not been thought through properly and I wanted to add my voice to the protest,” said Mrs Goss, who said she was pushed and grabbed on the shoulder by an officer, who “marched” her up the road.
Angry protesters armed with banners formed on the cattle market site before gathering outside Ask restaurant, to await the arrival of the councillors and developers who were greeted with chants of 'shame on you' and 'you are not wanted here'.
“I feel very strongly about this and I want to make my voice heard,” said Bury resident Rosemary Goold.
“The market and independent shops make this town what it is, and this development, along with a lack of parking and toilets is going to kill it off.”
As well as fears over visitors being put off from coming to the town, protestors spoke of other concerns including walking across the car park alone at night.
“I have to get my boyfriend to walk me home when I work late because it is so dark, and I have to walk the long way around the car park now,” said Tamara Kioumedjian.
But borough councillor Paul Farmer, who is a member of the Cattle Market Regeneration Working Party, said he felt the council was working in the best interest of the town.
He said: “It would be easy to do nothing, and easy to listen to a few people that shout loudly, but it is much harder to do what we are doing. People just do not like the idea of change, but we would not be doing this if we thought it was going to kill off the old town.”
Ivan Stephenson, development manager for Centros Miller, said the aim was to put Bury on the map in terms of retail. “They (the protesters) have a point of view, and they are entitled to it,” he said. “Today is a real milestone for the development, and it is very exciting.”
A spokeswoman for Suffolk police confirmed officers attended yesterday's protest, which she said was “largely peaceful”.
“During this, part of the highway was blocked by protestors - after several requests by police to clear the highway they eventually did so. There were no arrests, and the protesters dispersed at 12.15pm. We take complaints seriously, and if we receive any they will be fully investigated.”