Figuring out the road we need to take
The figures are rather startling. An estimated 5,740 homes would have been built in Bury St Edmunds by the time we are celebrating the year 2031.
Put together, that would mean an area more than half the size of Mildenhall, or almost double the size of Thurston, moving into Bury. Either way, startling.
A population that is living longer in a town where everyone wants to live. What could go wrong?
Well, naturally, plenty if the sole focus is on building houses and filling up our wonderful green space.
But, fear not readers, as help is at hand.
It comes in the form of a Bury town centre masterplan which will see a range of individuals and businesses work together to, quite simply, work all this out.
The masterplan group will look at the retail, leisure and culture offerings to accommodate all these new residents. Parking and road infrastructure will also be a huge priority.
The task force will start consulting early next year with residents, community groups, students and businesses all having a chance to air their views – leaving no stone unturned.
The group also have history and a precedent to fall back on.
They only have to look 20 miles along the A143 to see the excellent work and exciting plans of the Haverhill Town Centre Masterplan, engineered by ONE Haverhill Partnership.
With the blessing of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, the planning of how Haverhill is going to develop in the coming years was guided by people within the town – those who know it best.
I know some of the key players within that project will also play an active role in shaping the next 15 years – and beyond – of Bury.
Within the group are members of Ourburystedmunds, the Chamber of Commerce, Bury Society and representatives from councils at all levels.
They don’t need me to tell them of the current problems in our wonderful town. But I’m an opinionated so-and-so.
For me, traffic is the one blight on Bury. I personally don’t find parking too much of a problem, though I never mind leaving the car slightly off-centre and walking in.
But the current infrastructure doesn’t always appear to lend itself to a thriving town that attracts custom from far and wide.
I have written before about the horror show of traffic outside West Suffolk Hospital attempting to get on or near the A14 at peak time. Crawling doesn’t seem to come close.
We all want Bury St Edmunds, and West Suffolk in general, to grow and thrive. But it is imperative that measures like road systems, education and health are all in place to cope.
I might know some of the problems but I wouldn’t dare suggest to have all the solutions. I’ll leave that to the experts.