Redevelopment plans are behind schedule

A SUFFOLK community waiting for the first brick to be laid on a new multi-million pound shopping precinct will not see building work start for another 12 months.

A SUFFOLK community waiting for the first brick to be laid on a new multi-million pound shopping precinct will not see building work start for another 12 months.

The Cattle Market redevelopment scheme planned for Bury St Edmunds was supposed to get underway by the middle of this year.

But the council behind the project has now said it will be January 2006 before the building phase of the massive venture is put into operation.

Members of the Impact Management Strategy group (IMS), which works to deliver the scheme in accordance with the timetable originally set out by St Edmundsbury Borough Council, have pushed the project back into next year.

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The delay will allow the council to deal with concerns over the original application, including the design of the building and inadequate links to the town's current shopping centre.

Borough councillor David Nettleton, who sits on both the strategy group and the Cattle Market redevelopment working party, said that despite accusations of the council not getting on with the job, the objective is to get the plans right before work begins.

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“There are still a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration, and we do not want to rush into anything,” he added.

A recent report published by the IMS group outlines five separate phases of the completion process. Although some activity is planned for this year, the main bulk of the work, which consists of closing off the whole Cattle Market site to the public, will run from January next year - six months after the initial planned start date - to March 2008.

As long as the planning application for the project is successful, phase one of the development - relocating the town's coach park and the extension of Ram Meadow in order to gain around 80 extra car parking spaces - is hoped to get underway later this year.

In April, the council will carry out repair work to the multi-storey car park so it can cope with the extra volume of traffic generated by the scheme.

In July, an electrical cable diversion will be made from Parkway substation to a trench in Kings Road, which will mean a loss of parking spaces for three months while work is carried out.

And work on the surface of the Prospect Row car park between July and October will mean shoppers will be limited to parking for three hours only.

The other phases, planned for 2007 and 2008, include the construction of a new underground car park, alterations and improvements to the south of St Andrews Street, the widening of the town's thoroughfare which will link the old and new shopping areas, and the building of a new residential development.

Mr Nettleton said: “The planning process needs to be completely transparent, and although we are all working very hard to meet the deadlines we have set out, there is no way to foresee any kind of problem that might arise.

“The aim is to carry out this work by causing the minimum amount of disruption and the maximum amount of convenience possible.”

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