Town voices fears about future homes in Bury St Edmunds

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FEARS over the numnber of homes planned for Bury St Edmunds were raised at last night’s Our Place meeting called by councillors.

Plans for 5,900 homes to be built in the town as part of the council’s 2031 Vision came under fire at the meeting at West Suffolk House, chaired by Bury MP David Ruffley.

It was decided to look into holding a town petition calling for a review of the number of homes which St Edmundsbury Borough Council says are needed to cope with the borough’s increasing population.

St Edmundsbury has forecast there will need to be 12,000 new homes built in the period 2009 and 2031, 5,900 of these in Bury St Edmunds which is where 37 per cent of the borough population live.

Between 2009 and 2012 a total of 454 homes were built in the town with 2,213 constructed in the last 10 years, slightly under the council’s annual target of 270 homes per year.

County councillors Mark Ereira-Guyer and Trevor Beckwith called the meeting which was attended by residents’ associations,The Bury Society, parish councils and representatives of St Edmundsbury.

Cllr Terry Clements, portfolio holder for planning, said of the borough’s core strategy, which governs all planning: “If we don’t provide enough homes then we will leave the borough at risk from speculative development, planning by appeal and developers not delivering the infrastructure the core strategy requires.”

But Cllr Trevor Beckwith responded: “I’ve heard Terry say we need the houses. Nobody is disputing we need the homes. The thing is where we put them.

“There are alternatives. We shouldn’t be impinging on existing communities or damaging existing communities.”

Cllr Craig Dearden-Phillips said: “The views about this are universally anxious on the whole. It’s about scale and these proposals are fairly extreme in terms of what’s being added to our town.

“We’ve got to have a plan but not this plan. It’s too extreme, It needs to be pared back and needs to be more moderate.”

Cllr Ereira-Guyer said: “The growth is too fast, too exponential and completely undermines the separation between Bury and the villages.”