Town's masterplan branded too ambitious
A REGENERATION masterplan designed to help shape the future of a Suffolk town has been branded over ambitious by a preservation group.St Edmundsbury Borough Council's Vision for Haverhill Town Centre plan identifies a number of ways to create an attractive shopping environment, a place where businesses can thrive, and an area where people want to live.
A REGENERATION masterplan designed to help shape the future of a Suffolk town has been branded over ambitious by a preservation group.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council's Vision for Haverhill Town Centre plan identifies a number of ways to create an attractive shopping environment, a place where businesses can thrive, and an area where people want to live.
But Dan Pillar, branch chairman of the Suffolk Preservation Society's St Edmunds district, said priorities need to be established before long-term solutions to the town's social development can be found.
Mr Pillar said despite agreeing with many of the points raised in the council's proposal, more fundamental issues such as the need for extra housing also need to be addressed.
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He added: "More and more people are already moving to the town to work and live thanks to the flourishing business community, but unless something is done to cater for these people, they will start to flood into the surrounding villages which are not big enough to cope."
Last month plans to re-establish a £50million rail link between Sudbury and Cambridge, via Haverhill, suffered a major setback with the news that government funding for the scheme was unlikely to be made available.
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Mr Pillar said: "I think that with proper planning and with the improvement of Haverhill as a shopping area, the balance will eventually change and people will start visiting the town more and more.
"The whole town needs a facelift, but we have to make sure proper amenities are available first."
The masterplan went on display to the public in November, and residents were invited by the council to submit any feedback and ideas they had on the town's future.
Jeff Stevens, chairman of the Haverhill Area Working Party, said: "The response we have had from the public has been excellent, and everyone is as keen as we are to develop the area.
"In response to Mr Pillar's comments, I think it is marvellous that we are being accused of being over-ambitious with the project, because that is far better than being told we are not doing enough.
"This is not something that is being planned for next week, next month, or even next year, but is for the next few decades.
"Unless we are ambitious, I think our successors will be very upset to think that we did nothing to take this plan forward and look at the town's future over the coming years.
"The consultation period for the masterplan will end in around two weeks time, at which point we will take on board any points raised and will look at our priorities, and at ways we can get funding for the work that needs to be done.
"There is a lot to take into consideration, but we are determined to do this, and to do it properly."