‘Radical’ town plans date back to 1940s

SEEMINGLY radical plans that are set to change the face of Sudbury and have sparked fears in neighbouring villages were first outlined in a document in 1946, it has emerged.

They were contained in a book unearthed by Babergh District councillor Simon Barrett which sets out changes needed to create new homes and industry around Sudbury following the Second World War.

The discovery came as consultation closed yesterday over initial plans by Redrow Homes for a 1,050-home development at Chilton Woods.

The 1940s book, titled A Full Life in the Country, uses the ‘Sudbury and District Plan’ of as an example of how British country towns and villages needed to adapt and repopulate post-war. The scheme was first shown to the public in June 1946 in an exhibition at Sudbury Town Hall. It foretold many of the major changes that have either already taken place in the town, or are contained in the current plans for the area. “We are not seeing anything new here because all of these things that are happening around Sudbury have been in various plans since 1946,” said Mr Barrett. “For example, people are getting upset about the thought of industry on the old airfield, but it was designated in the forties as an industrial area.

“Many of the ideas suggested in the book have already been done if you look at the maps showing the bypass, the area that is now Chilton industrial estate, and the residential area that eventually became the Chaucer estate.”

The new plans for the 270-acre Chilton Woods site encompassing Chilton airfield for a mix of residential and industrial purposes, have caused concerns that the development might eventually join up with the villages of Acton, Gt Waldingfield and Newmans Green. But Cllr Barrett said everyone needed to “get on board” with the ideas recognised by our predecessors as “vital” for the area’s future.

Mr Barrett said challenges tackled by planners in the 1940s were similar to those facing developers today, adding: “Looking back you can see where they were going with this, and what we need is to adopt a positive attitude to this development and see it for what it is – a huge benefit for the whole area.”

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Great Waldingfield councillor Jenny Antill said she believed local villagers recognised the need for new affordable homes in the area and were certainly not “anti-development”.

Redrow Homes land director, Chris Sparks, said detailed development plans would be produced after Babergh had made a decision regarding its core strategy.

Babergh will discuss changes to its Core Strategy later this month, which will affect plans for the Sudbury district. The amended document is due to be released for a six-week public consultation from July.

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