Some weeks ago an article appeared in the Bury Free Press with arguments supporting the application that would allow change of use of New Shire Hall into a Travel Lodge. Uncharacteristically, the article did not give any opposing views. My own position, as owner of a neighbouring property, is predictable. However, I am not alone in opposing this application.
The New Shire Hall site was purchased from the council in 2010 (by a developer who has also bought other prime council property in Bury) with a clear planning brief that the buildings were to be for private residential or office use and that a portion of the site should be given over for social amenity (eg playground or public garden). It is a unique,historically rich and tranquil corner of Bury. The site includes part of the 11th century Abbey Precinct wall, some fine grade II* listed buildings and used to have a wonderful 3.5 acre formal garden bordering the River Lark. It is not easily accessed by car from the A14, it does not have a petrol station, fast-food outlet or convenience store. Rather than bowing again to the commercial interest of this developer, surely our town planners should grasp a golden opportunity to obey their carefully considered brief, allowing the developer suitable office and residential use of Shire Hall, on condition that he gives Bury back some beautiful green space along the river and leading into St Mary’s Churchyard and the Abbey Gardens. If you agree please let the planners know, before their decision meeting on July .