Young urged to have say on Cattle Market

YOUNG people in St Edmundsbury are being urged to take part in discussing plans to revolutionise a Suffolk town – on the day architectural watchdogs warned vital changes must be made to the designs.

YOUNG people in St Edmundsbury are being urged to take part in discussing plans to revolutionise a Suffolk town - on the day architectural watchdogs warned vital changes must be made to the designs.

More than 1,500 people have already made their thoughts known about the £75 million Cattle Market redevelopment in Bury St Edmunds less than a week after the consultation period was launched.

But developers Centros Miller, hoping positive feedback will help local councillors give the scheme the go-ahead, have called on younger people to have their say following a "lopsided" early response.

Spokesman Steve Bryson said: "We are pleased with the amount of people who have told us what they thought but we are frustrated that the numbers are predominantly from the older generation.

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"This is causing a one-sided result. If we don't hear from the young people, it will be a lopsided response and a completely unrepresentative survey of opinion.

"The feedback we are having has been broadly mixed although the majority of the older generation think there is not enough car parking and they don't like the link through the existing town centre.

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"But that is only a viewpoint from a section of society - we now want to find out what the rest want."

If approved, the development would include 35 smaller retail units, 56 residential apartments and a 500-seat, multi-purpose public venue with a three-storey Debenhams store acting as a flagship to the new scheme, which will provide about 500 new jobs.

A ten-day public consultation exercise has reached the midway point with the developers getting more than 150 visitors a day.

The process will soon be opened up with 40,000 leaflets, explaining the scheme and giving residents the chance to voice comments, being sent to every household in St Edmundsbury.

Watchdogs Suffolk Preservation Society said they supported the principle of the redevelopment but only if adequate links were established with the town centre, ensuring it is not adversely affected by the plans, and sufficient car parking was provided.

In a letter to St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Society director Richard Ward also criticised some of the architecture as repetitive and uninteresting.

Mr Ward said: "We believe if the council do not take some of our comments no board, they will end up with a scheme which is not right for Bury and could lead to some real long term problems for the rest of the town centre.

"There is an opportunity here to get something really outstanding and that is what we are working to achieve with councillors and the developers."

Mr Bryson said the development has a number of aspects which should appear to the younger generation.

He explained: "If we get the go-ahead, the public building will give a social focus to Bury. Where young people now have to travel to Cambridge or Ipswich, the venue will potentially be a focus for so many events held there.

"There could be a huge variety of cultural events, something Bury does not have at the moment."

The consultation process will run in the old Job Centre on the Cornhill, Bury, until Saturday .

The comments will then be used in deciding whether to approve the application with work pencilled in to start next year and completion due in 2007.

n THE East Anglian Daily Times is giving readers the chance to have their say on the huge development with a special referendum.

Ballot papers printed in the EADT today and over the next few weeks will give people the chance to share their views on the design of the development, its parking provision and the balance between shopping and leisure facilities.

EADT readers can cast their votes in special ballot boxes in:

n Court News, Glastonbury Road, Bury St Edmunds

n Eastgate Stores, Eastgate Street, Bury St Edmunds

n McColls, in the Hardwicke Centre on Nowton Road, Bury St Edmunds.

Responses can also be handed in or posted to the EADT's offices in Woolhall Street, Bury St Edmunds, and the results of the ballot will be published later in the summer.

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