A new multi-million pound business park, 500 homes, an eastern relief road and an upper school on Moreton Hall are now one step closer to being built.
At a full St Edmundsbury council meeting on Wednesday, councillors voted in favour of allowing a compulsory purchase order (CPO) for land owned by the Rougham Estate.
The move gives the council the power to forcibly buy the land, providing it with leverage in negotiations and insurance if it doesn’t go to plan.
Councillor John Griffiths said decisions on the project had to be made quickly.
He said: “What we are seeking to achieve as swiftly as possible for residents, for businesses and for future generations is 500 houses, 14,000 jobs, £250 million in investment, not to mention a school, associated recreation facilities for the community and transport.
“The combination of the three makes these projects a no-brainer. “We are so close after such a long time.
“We have managed to secure money from New Anglia LEP, Suffolk County Council and other public sector backing of £15 million.
“This funding is dependent quite rightly on a reasonable time scale.”
Cllr Griffiths said the CPO would give the council some leverage in negotiations but described it as a ‘last resort’.
“The CPO is both the catalyst and provides some insurance,” he said.
“The Suffolk Business Park is too important to be left to chance. It gives St Edmundsbury an influencing role and protects our position.”
Cllr Peter Stevens agreed with Cllr Griffiths, saying: “If the CPO can sharpen the edge of these negotiations I am all for it.”
But Councillor David Nettleton objected to the proposals, describing it as ‘land snatching’.
“In this particular case I think what we are seeking to do here as a council is deprive the rightful owners of their land,” he said. “What we are doing is land snatching, that is what we are actually doing.”
On Wednesday, the council also voted in favour of allocating just over £4.5 million towards the electrical infrastructure for the eastern relief road and rubber-stamped plans to transfer 11.38 acres of land to Suffolk County Council for the construction of a new upper school on Moreton Hall including a £1.3 million contribution towards shared community sports provision on the site.
Last week, a planning application was submitted to St Edmundsbury Borough Council for the new school.