Sudbury: Council heeds call for over-arching plan
- Credit: Andy Abbott
Calls for an over-arching plan for Sudbury are being heeded, with councillors pledging to create a legally binding blueprint for the town’s future.
At a recent community meeting attended by more than 100 people, one of the primary criticisms was that key issues were being tackled in isolation rather than with a holistic approach encompassing development, transport and the economy.
But according to Tony Platt, chairman of Sudbury’s highways committee, the council already set out its vision for the town in a document which was approved in June 2012 and forwarded to both county and district councils.
The ‘long term plan’ covered a diverse range of issues such as the town’s car parks, open spaces, allotments, roads and key developments alongside specific areas including Hamilton Road, Market Hill and Belle Vue junction.
Mr Platt wants members of the public to submit their suggestions, which will then be built into a revised version of the document and presented to the Babergh-led Sudbury Steering Group.
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Mr Platt said: “There’s a strong feeling that people in the town want to come up with a consolidated coordinated approach to Sudbury’s future. The county council is producing a local transport plan but that does not consider the overall picture of this town.
“None of us are experts but we owe it to the townspeople to establish what we all ideally would like to see happen. We need to come up with an updated holistic plan that can be published as a discussion document and most importantly, we need to let people know what we are doing because they want to see some action.”
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The town has been criticised for not following the lead of more than 1,000 other communities across the UK who have started work on their own legally binding neighbourhood plans. So far, 80 full draft neighbourhood plans have been produced for consultation and 13 have been passed at community referendums.
But highways committee member Jan Osborne said the reworked council vision document could instead form the basis of an ‘area action plan’.
She said: “It is important that we do have our own vision but the general feeling is that because the (Sudbury) area is so big and diverse, a neighbourhood plan wouldn’t remedy what we have here. It would cost around £50,000 to produce which would be wasted if it was subsequently turned down at a referendum.
“An area action plan has to be adopted as a support document to the (district council’s) core strategy but doesn’t need to go to a referendum. It wouldn’t be so costly and would address most of the issues we are talking about.”
The ‘Sudbury and Its Future’ task group is expected to reconvene in the near future to update the council’s vision for the town. The revised draft document could be presented to the council in September.