Sudbury: Calls for an ‘all encompassing’ plan to map out town’s future
Calls are being made for a locally devised “over arching plan” that would shape the future of Sudbury over the next 20 years.
Councillors are currently awaiting the results of a county council report on how the town’s traffic system could be radically improved.
But business owners and members of the Sudbury Society believe the whole town, including building development, traffic and the economy need to be considered at the same time as part of a wider blueprint.
While villages such as Lavenham and Long Melford are forming legally binding neighbourhood plans – as encouraged under the Government’s localism bill which gives communities more control over housing and planning decisions – Sudbury has as yet chosen not to formulate its own plan.
However, Babergh’s lead member for economic development believes a neighbourhood plan would be “expensive and unnecessary” as Sudbury is mentioned in the district authority’s core strategy and in the county council’s growth strategy.
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The Sudbury Steering Group led by Babergh is currently tackling issues associated with one area of the town, known as the Hamilton Road quarter.
But businessman David Holland, who owns a shop in the town, said: “Things are being thought about the wrong way round and everyone is focusing on highways matters, but the road system should be devised in light of other developments.
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“We are currently sticking with a loose idea of a plan for Sudbury that was hatched years ago and no-one at Babergh bought into – but we’ve yet to come up with a plan-B.
“The time is right to produce an over arching neighbourhood plan that takes the whole town into consideration.”
Peter Thorogood, chairman of the Sudbury Society, agreed that a neighbourhood plan would be the best way forward for the town. But he is sceptical about how ‘localism’ is working in practice.
He said: “Sudbury has a number of major issues that need discussing, such as the incredible pollution on Cross Street and the desperate need for a bypass. We should be talking about all of these things in tandem until the town decides what’s needed and those plans are implemented.
“We support the idea that Sudbury needs an over all-encompassing plan decided by the people of Sudbury, but many of us feel sceptical that despite the Government’s push for localism, anything the town decides is going to be overruled by Babergh and Suffolk.”
Simon Barrett, Babergh’s lead member for economic development and vice-chair of the steering group, said Sudbury was “too big” for a neighbourhood plan.
He added: “Sudbury doesn’t need to come up with a neighbourhood plan, which costs a lot to put into place. The town has been highlighted in the core strategy and Suffolk growth strategy and we are trying to plan within the steering group.
“We are keeping it narrow at the moment and are focussing on things that are achievable and viable.
“We are undertaking a policy review and are taking a lot of time to engage with (Sudbury) town council to make sure they are happy with what we are doing.”