Councillors have called for a meeting scrutinising Vision 2031’s transport impacts on Bury St Edmunds to be held in the town rather than a ‘far removed Ivory tower’ in Ipswich.
Suffolk County Council’s scrutiny committee will assess the traffic effects of St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s far reaching framework for growth including plans for 5,900 houses on Tuesday.
However, the meeting will be held at the county’s headquarters, Endeavour House, in Ipswich, rather than Bury.
Diane Hind, borough councillor for the Northgate ward, said: “Vision 2031 will change the future character of the town and as such has to be carefully managed, and decisions should be taken with full consultation not rubber stamped by a committee from an Ivory tower far removed from Bury.” She added: “The meeting is open to the public and the very people it concerns have to travel 28 miles to get to it.”
The transport matter was called in to scrutiny by several county councillors including Trevor Beckwith, Mark Ereira-Guyer and David Nettleton after the county’s cabinet backed the proposals. They argue the cabinet decision was taken ‘despite insufficient information and evidence about appropriate transport measures to mitigate the severe negative impact to the road network in Bury’.
When aksed about the location of the meeting, Cllr Beckwith said: “It’s specific to Bury, affects the people of Bury and there’s a lot of people interested but if they want to see the alleged democracy in action they will have to go all the way to Ipswich - it isn’t good at all.”
Cllr Nettleton said: “The meeting could easily have been held in Bury. The county council is Ipswich-centric, they automatically think about holding it there.”
Cllr Ereira-Guyer said: “The people who would want to come and listen to this debate would be from Bury. It should have been held in Bury.”
A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said the ‘extraordinary’ meeting will be held in Ipswich as there ‘wasn’t a room available of sufficient size at West Suffolk House, in Bury’. He added that the scrutiny committee would ‘pick apart the county council’s decision making process’ and such a meeting would normally be held in Ipswich.