Negotiations are continuing to end a stalemate to secure a vital piece of land and pave the way for major growth in Bury St Edmunds.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council has been considering using a compulsary purchase order (CPO) to buy the site owned by The Rougham Estate to allow for the Eastern Relief Road and expansion of Suffolk Business Park.
The authority felt this was necessary after negotiations stalled between Rougham Estate’s agent Churchmanor Estates Company and developer Taylor Wimpey, which plans to build 500 homes on the Moreton Hall estate.
However, a report to the council’s cabinet on Tuesday night noted that there has been a ‘change in attitude from Churchmanor’ and the prospect of a CPO has ‘acted as a catalyst for a more positive dialogue’ with partners.
At the cabinet meeting, Cllr John Griffiths, leader of the council, said: “Hopefully we will be able to come to an agreement without the need for CPO powers but I think they’ve been useful.
“It’s intended these negotiations will continue. We obviously need to keep the CPO process there as a backstop.”
Stephen Clark, managing director of Churchmanor, said discussions are ongoing and he anticipated making progress over the next few months.
He said: “Like St Edmundsbury Borough Council we do not believe that a CPO is necessary but we agree with them it is useful to have in the background. We feel that we have made a major contribution over the last seven years to advancing both the Eastern Relief Road and Suffolk Business Park and are naturally keen to see it all come to fruition.”
Mr Clark added that Churchmanor had designed the relief road and handed the design to Suffolk County Council allowing them to ‘accelerate their tender process’ with the hope of starting on site in November.
A spokesman for Taylor Wimpey said: “We are working closely with St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Suffolk County Council and Churchmanor towards our shared objective to deliver the Eastern Relief Road as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, an archaeological dig on the site of the planned relief road has uncovered finds including prehistoric ditches and decorated pottery from the Bronze Age.