St Edmundsbury row over Arc-market link

FORMER political rivals have joined forces to fight their council's “broken promises” over a link between an historic market town and a multimillion retail centre.

Laurence Cawley

FORMER political rivals have joined forces to fight their council's “broken promises” over a link between an historic market town and a multimillion retail centre.

Called LLINK, the new political grouping on St Edmundsbury Borough Council has been set up to fight for a single cause - to make sure the planned link between the old centre of Bury St Edmunds and the �100million Arc retail centre is at least five metres wide.

The promise to deliver a five metre wide link had been made by the developer Centros and the borough council. But earlier this year it emerged those plans had been put on ice and Market Thoroughfare would instead be spruced up but only two metres wide.

Business leaders say they felt “let down” by the change.

But the decision by Centros and the council has now led to the formation of a new political group on the council which will be led by Independent councillor David Nettleton and includes Mark Ereira, who recently quit his role as the Labour group leader to become a Green councillor, former Tory group leader Derek Redhead and the Independent councillor Trevor Beckwith.

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Mr Nettleton said the current proposal for a link was not what was promised. “Politicians at all levels of government need to keep promises made to the public. The aim of LLINK is to challenge the borough council and the developer to honour a joint pledge to provide the link by widening Market

David Lewis, associate director of Centros, said the reason for the change in the link plans was based on Centros's inability to buy all the properties in Market Thoroughfare.

He said: “We have always wanted to ensure that Arc integrates well with the town centre and, even though we haven't been able to acquire all of the properties in Market Thoroughfare as of yet, we can go ahead with these improvements now and avoid any disruption when the new centre opens.”

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