MP backs residents’ cry to reduce development

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AN MP who believes Bury St Edmunds needs protecting from the level of growth proposed by the borough council is to call on the Secretary of State for help.

Emotions ran high on Friday night as views clashed concerning the future of Bury’s Howard Estate, which will be directly affected by St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s proposed north west development, with its 900 new homes and new primary school provision.

“It’s too fast, too quick and too big,” said Cllr Bob Cockle of the development, which could begin to take shape in as little as two years, a sentiment shared by many at the three-hour public meeting.

Colin Campbell, of Savills, spoke on behalf of the developer, Countryside Properties Ltd, and stressed the borough’s ‘critical need for new housing’.

But he was criticised by residents for the level of affordable housing in the scheme and the traffic congestion it could cause.

Cllr Terry Clements, one of few who expressed excitement for the development, said the majority of its homes would be produced for local people.

But Cllr Mark Ereira-Guyer argued that Bury had been identified as an area of growth and development, which was about attracting newcomers to the town.

He also questioned the environmental sustainability of the project, with Bury in one of the driest parts of the country and already struggling to meet water demands.

“I don’t want it to go ahead, I think it’s too much,” he said.

Schools were another hot topic, with headteacher Bernadette Higgins saying Howard Primary School would be negatively affected, resident Marie Bennett worried about the lack of secondary school provision and headteacher Colin Sinclair proposing an alternative future for Howard Middle School, as a ‘hub of the community’.

David Ruffley, MP for Bury, backed residents, saying the council needed to rethink the scale of developments proposed and vowing to take action.

“Bury, in my view, should be protected from the far too many homes being envisaged by the borough council,” he said.

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