A planning inspector has backed a blueprint for growth in Bury St Edmunds - paving the way for thousands of new homes while ruling a town beauty spot should be saved from development.
Pending some modifications, Roger Clews says St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Vision 2031 documents are sound and legally compliant.
In a victory for campaigners, he ruled that the Leg of Mutton site, off Rougham Rd - hailed as a ‘green lung’ of the town - should be used for ‘informal outdoor recreation’, which subject to council approval would save it from development.
Mr Clews has also recommended plans for an access road at Ram Meadow to Compiegne Way be scrapped.
He felt that the extra traffic created through thousands of homes to be built at five strategic sites around the town ‘can, in principle, be managed in such a way as to avoid unacceptable consequences in terms of congestion’.
The authority’s cabinet and full council will consider his recommendations for formal adoption on September 2 and 23 respectively.
Cllr David Nettleton welcomed the removal of the road at Ram Meadow.
He said: “It was unnecessary, a lot of money and would spoil the whole area - leave it as an open space.”
Cllr Trevor Beckwith said he wanted to know what the overall traffic strategy was for Bury.
He explained: “They’ve said it’s too early to ask those questions now - it comes at the planning application stage. We’re at the planning application stage now. Somebody has got to get a grip of the overall impact on the town from the five sites.”
Cllr John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “It’s a huge responsibility to plan how best to manage change and growth over two decades, allowing for the right balance of development while protecting the special character and environment of the borough.
“We are very pleased that the inspector has recognised that the Vision plans were properly prepared through partnership working.”
After the council initially queried the inspector’s recommendations for the Leg of Mutton site, Cllr Griffiths said: “We particularly welcome the inspector’s support for preserving the unique area of the Leg of Mutton field in Bury St Edmunds and clarifying how it could remain a special open space for future generations to enjoy. We’re grateful to the inspector for his time and careful consideration of all the feedback which has helped us prepare plans which we believe will serve our residents and businesses well.”
For reaction to the Leg of Mutton site decision, see tomorrow’s Bury Free Press.