Barry Peters (opinion piece, September 30) apparently struggles to see the visionary thinking needed to take Bury St Edmunds to the next level but gives me the opportunity to highlight the forthcoming public engagement on the Bury Town Centre Masterplan.
Barry describes vision as a spark, but delivering it, and making things happen, is equally important and down to leadership and working with others (which we are pretty good at here in West Suffolk). My vision remains to secure our future prosperity (as Barry recalls with his reference to Café Society) while preserving our unique heritage. Eleven years ago we delivered the cinema complex, and four years later, the arc and then the nationally-recognised and hugely successful Apex. We supported local businesses setting up a Business Improvement District and establishing the economic infrastructure that has had such a positive impact. In 2014 we adopted Bury Vision 2031, our shared framework for sustainable growth alongside protecting all that is good about where we live. This brought forward the Eastern Relief Road, now under construction, opening up Suffolk Business Park and potentially 15,000 new local jobs. At the same time another unique part of our heritage is being secured with the Guildhall project and our children’s future should be enhanced by the innovation and engineering centre of excellence at West Suffolk College and the planned new sixth form.
These are just some of many, visionary examples that are being delivered and Bury Vision 2031 includes particular focus on the town centre. A masterplan prepared in partnership with our communities will help us all manage and shape the current and inevitable changes ahead. In early spring 2017, we begin public engagement on town centre uses, traffic management and car parking, the quality of the environment, the public realm and more.
I thank Barry, the Bury Free Press and everyone whose efforts have already helped the town become today’s leading destination. And I look forward to working with you all on the next chapter in our fantastic town’s remarkable history - and the best possible future for all in West Suffolk.
-- John Griffiths is Leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council