The first public events to encourage people to have their say on the draft Bury St Edmunds town centre MAP masterplan have taken place.
Shoppers in Sainsbury’s in Bedingfeld Way on Thursday, and Bury St Edmunds market on Saturday, were able to see and comment on the MAP, which sets out aspirations for the town centre, and chat to the project team who explained how the ideas have been shaped by a previous public consultation earlier this year.
Market trader Darren Old is part of the Bury St Edmunds town centre working group which is behind the draft masterplan.
He said: “We had a brilliant start to the draft masterplan consultation. The main aim is to try to speak to as many residents, shoppers, town centre workers and visitors as possible during the six week consultation, to get them to look at the draft masterplan and give their feedback via the questionnaire. We had lots of interest on Saturday and I’m sure many people will be going online to have their say.”
Earlier this year, people were asked for their views on the issues that face Bury St Edmunds town centre into the future and the options for how these could be addressed. That led to nearly 6,000 comments and suggestions which have now been used to shape the draft MAP masterplan.
Aspirations set out in the MAP include:
- Extending the pedestrianisation of the Cornhill and Buttermarket
- Closing St Andrews Street South between The arc and the historic town centre to all traffic with the exception of delivery/ service vehicles
- Improving the appearance of Market Thoroughfare
- Extending the arc
- Providing on street bus services on St Andrews Street North and redeveloping the bus station
- More public seating
- Dedicated cycle facilities including secure storage
- More parking
Between now and September 8, the borough council is asking people to view the draft MAP masterplan either at events and displays or through an interactive map online, and then respond via a simple questionnaire.
That feedback will shape the final version of the MAP masterplan that will come before councillors for adoption later in the year. Once adopted, the MAP will form part of the council’s planning guidance, setting out clear guidelines for development and redevelopment in the town centre.
The delivery phase will then run to 2031. While some of these projects will be undertaken by St Edmundsbury Borough Council, others will be delivered by partners as well as landlords and investors. Some will also need further assessment to see if they can be achieved and will be subject to funding and land ownership.
Councillor Alaric Pugh, St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Growth, said: “This is about how the town centre prepares itself for the growth that is happening not just in Bury St Edmunds but further afield, and how it celebrates its history without becoming history. It is about how it ensures that its reputation as one of the best retail, culture and leisure centres in the region continues, not just for the good of the local economy, but also for the benefit of people of all ages as a place where they can relax and enjoy their spare time.
“A major part of that is also about how we and our partners work together so that people can get into town whether by car, public transport, cycling or walking, and that once they do get into town, that it is accessible for all needs.”
This week members of the masterplan team will be at Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre on Thursday (10th) from 10am to 5pm, and at Tesco at St Saviours Interchange from on Friday (11th) from 10am to 7pm.
You can also speak to them at Bury St Edmunds Market next Wednesday from 7.30am to 4pm and later that same evening at The Apex from 6pm through to 8.30pm. Then they will be on Charter Square in the Arc next Saturday (19th) from 9.30am to 5.30pm.
Details on more events as well as the draft masterplan, interactive map and questionnaire can be found at www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/bsemasterplan
There is also a new display in The Cloisters at St Edmundsbury Cathedral from now until 24 August, where information and hard copies of the questionnaire will be available.