Retail scheme backed by traffic chiefs

TRAFFIC bosses have given the stamp of approval to a multi-million pound retail redevelopment scheme, saying plans to rejuvenate one Suffolk town centre will have "no major impact" on the busy A14.

TRAFFIC bosses have given the stamp of approval to a multi-million pound retail redevelopment scheme, saying plans to rejuvenate one Suffolk town centre will have "no major impact" on the busy A14.

The Highways Agency has told St Edmundsbury Borough Council it is satisfied with proposals for the Cattle Market site in Bury St Edmunds, adding there is no need for a formal consultation between the two bodies to be carried out.

But officials at the council, which is masterminding the £85m scheme for new shops, homes, a Debenhams department store and an entertainments venue, say they are still working towards minimising the impact of the development, due to begin next year.

The proposals have already won backing from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), and secured planning permission from council members.


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"I am delighted by the news from the ODPM and Highways Agency, not just because it confirms we were correct but shows we have been doing things correctly," said John Griffiths, council leader.

"One can never satisfy all of the people all of the time, but despite the renewed scare-mongering being banded around, this once again demonstrates not only that we have consulted people but are doing things properly, above and beyond our legal obligations and in the best interests of the people of the borough.

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"The council continues to work extremely hard on all aspects relating not just to the Cattle Market but to the car parking, traffic flows and transport issues in St Edmundsbury."

A spokesman for the council said a Cattle Market Impact Management Strategy Group, featuring both members and staff from the borough, representatives of developers Centros Miller and officials from the town, had been set up to identify potential problems before they arise.

"Experience of major developments in other towns, such as Kings Lynn and Cambridge, is being used to help come up with solutions," she said.

"There are also smaller groups looking at specific issues, such as parking and traffic flows and environmental issues.

"Between them, the team members have a great deal of experience and personal knowledge of the town.

"They have helped to draft an impact management strategy, which will be formally launched later in the year.

"We will be looking to involve as many people as possible during the construction period to help spread the positive message that Bury St Edmunds is open for business and to give out as much information as possible."

But campaigners who fear the redeveloped site will lack sufficient car parking spaces say chaos will ensue once work begins.

"A crucial factor is there are not enough parking spaces," said Sir Reginald Harland, who lives in the town.

"In spite of the variable message boards (showing where spaces are available) the council is planning to put up, people will be driving round and round in circles trying to find a space.

"It will make the traffic much worse."

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