A final public consultation has begun in Bury St Edmunds on the draft master plan for the town centre, drawn up by David Lock Associates as part of a working group on behalf of St Edmundsbury Borough Council.
Earlier this year residents, workers, shoppers and visitors were asked for their views on the challenges that face the town centre over the next decade and how these may be addressed.
This Issues and Options public engagement led to nearly 6,000 comments and suggestions.
These have been used to shape a draft masterplan outlining aspirations for the town centre and from 31 July to 8 September, people are being asked to complete a survey with their thoughts on the plan.
Cllr Alaric Pugh, St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Growth said: “Simply keeping everything as it is now, is not an option. The reason for this is because Bury St Edmunds and area around it,is set to see its population grow over the next decade.
The town is successful because it has a greater proportion of independent traders than most places, because it has a much lower percentage of empty shops than the national average, because of its brilliant market, and its reputation as one of the best retail, culture and leisure centres in the region.
The job of the masterplan is to plan for the future to ensure this success continues, that our town centre is ready for growth and can welcome people by car, public transport, bicycle or on foot, and to improve its accessibility for people who have a variety of other needs as well.”
The Bury St Edmunds Town Centre Masterplan is being co-produced by a working group comprising representatives of OurBuryStEdmunds Business Improvement District, the Suffolk Chamber in Bury St Edmunds, Bury St Edmunds market traders, The Bury Society, the Bury St Edmunds Town Trust, St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds Town Council, St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Suffolk County Council, working alongside David Lock Associates and Peter Brett Associates.
Cllr Andrew Speed, Chairman of Bury St Edmunds Town Council said: “This masterplan is about celebrating those things that make our town brilliant, but recognising and working together to tackle those areas that simply don’t work and I am particularly keen to see improvements to St Andrews Street South between the arc and the historic town. Now is the time for people to comment on the aspirations set out in the draft master plan to tell us if we have got it right.“
Project Director at DLA, Matthew Lappin said: “We have put forward an innovative plan, making the whole town centre, from Parkway to Ram Meadow, a great place to live, shop and work, while respecting the historic character and heritage that makes Bury St Edmunds so special. A key part of the plan is making it easier for pedestrians to get around the town centre making it more attractive, cleaner and safer to spend time in.”
The feedback received during this consultation will shape the final version of the master plan that will come before councillors for adoption later in the year. The delivery phase will then run to 2031.
More information on the draft master plan, including an interactive map, can be seen here.