RESIDENTS can now have their say on how future growth in Bury St Edmunds and the surrounding area will be managed.
The two-month consultation process has officially been launched for Vision 2031, which lays down dramatic proposals to transform the landscape and fabric of the community over the next 20 years.
Thousands of homes will be built, jobs created and new educational, health, community and leisure facilities developed.
The St Edmundsbury Borough Council Vision documents for Bury and the Rural area focus on 10 themes - homes and communities, jobs and economy, travel, sustainability and climate change, crime and safety, infrastructure and services, culture and leisure, health and wellbeing, education and skills as well as historic and natural environment.
Cllr John Griffiths, leader of the authority, said: “I would encourage everyone to look at these proposals and send us your comments. Growth is inevitable.
“It’s about trying to get as many people involved in making sure that we get things as right as we possibly can - preserve the good things from our past, improve the present and protect the future.”
Ian Poole, planning policy and specialist services manager, added: “This is an aspirational 20-year plan. It’s putting the foundations in place to allow better services to be provided.”
In Bury, there are five strategic growth areas with a number of draft concepts for each site.
The council has listed its preferred options for the areas.
They include about 900 homes for North-west Bury with recreation grounds and a possible sports centre.
In Moreton Hall, about 500 homes are planned plus a community football facility, neighbourhood centre, secondary school, business park and eastern relief road.
About 450 homes would be built in West Bury as well as a sub regional health campus for the relocation of West Suffolk Hospital.
In North-east Bury, there would be 1,250 homes with a commercial and community centre and an A143 Great Barton bypass.
About 1,250 homes are earmarked for South-east Bury with a relief road to address congestion along the A1302/A134 and a primary school.
Concerns have already been raised that surrounding villages could be absorbed into Bury as a result of the developments.
However, Cllr Griffiths stressed that there will be ‘buffers’ around the sites.
He said: “Whether they’re going to be agricultural or recreational, we’re determined to protect the uniqueness and viability of the villages.”
Contributions from the consultation will be used to prepare the final draft document which will be published later this year when there will be a final opportunity to comment before it is submitted to the Secretary of State.
The documents and questionnaires are available at www.stedmundsbury.gov.uk/vision2031 or on request from the planning policy team on (01284) 757368 or LDF@stedsbc.gov.uk
Planning policy officers are holding 12 drop-in sessions until April 3. The first of these will be at Moreton Hall Community Centre on Monday, the Anselm Community Centre, in Bury, on Tuesday, Fornham All Saints Community Centre on Thursday. All run from 4pm to 7pm.
The consultation closes on April 30.