Vision reveals fresh detail on plans to develop town

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FRESH details have emerged of dramatic plans to transform the landscape of Bury St Edmunds over the next 20 years.

A draft of Bury Vision 2031 lays bare more specific proposals to develop homes, services and job opportunities at sites across the town.

The document was approved for public consultation by St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s cabinet this week.

There will be open spaces within the town, improvements to existing green spaces and green buffer zones around its edges to maintain the identities of the town and surrounding villages.

Other strategies will be developed to encourage residents to use public transport, walk or cycle instead of using cars.

Previously used land will be developed but there will also be urban extensions to the north-west, west, north-east, east and south-east of the town.

These developments to provide thousands of new homes will also include recreational and community facilities, schools, a business park and health campus for the relocation of West Suffolk Hospital.

Appropriate land will be allocated to create a ‘diverse, vibrant and modern economy’ which will increase jobs.

The paper was produced following a two month consultation last year in which people were asked what issues they felt needed to be tackled at present and in the next two decades.

The main points highlighted included a concern that the town will be over-developed, that there is a high level of unemployment and too few suitable jobs as well as a need for better traffic management to deal with congestion –especially in the town centre, at rush hour and on the Moreton Hall Estate.

Residents expressed worries about independent shops closing down, a need for increased night time activities and gigs and concerns over the capacity of the current hospital site due to an increasing population.

There was also a fear of the town losing its individuality and character through the closure of small shops, the loss of historic features as well as pressure from more people and development.

Vision 2031 will address these issues in 10 themes: homes and communities, jobs and economy, travel, sustainability and climate change, crime and safety, infrastructure and services, culture and leisure, health and well being, education and skills and historic and natural environment.

The same themes feature in separate vision documents for Haverhill and the Rural Area, which also look at people’s hopes for the future, how they will be met and policies covering the way land will be used.

The public consultation on Vision 2031 will start at the end of February.

Residents will have two months to examine the documents and put forward their views.

The responses will help inform the final draft of the document, which will be published later this year and will be subject to another consultation.

The authority will then submit the document to the Secretary of State for an independent planning examination.

Vision 2031 sets out further plans for five major new housing sites in Bury.

These homes will be built over a phased period.

Following consultation between communities and developers, a number of draft concept options have been prepared for each site with one identified as the ‘preferred option’.

Details of these preferred options are spelt out below.

n Let us know what you think. We also want to continue hearing your views on the debate about Government changes to the planning system.

Email or write to Paul Derrick, Bury Free Press, King’s Road, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 3ET.