There are just days left for residents, workers, shoppers and visitors to have their say on the future of Bury St Edmunds town centre.
The Bury St Edmunds Town Trust is urging people, if they haven’t already, to have their say on a draft masterplan for the town centre, before the deadline at the end of this Friday.
Earlier this year, the Bury St Edmunds Town Centre Working Group, asked for people’s views on the issues facing the town centre both now and over the next decade, and options for how these may be addressed.
That consultation led to 6,000 comments and suggestions, which have been published online and which called, among other things, for the working group to explore the possibility of pedestrianising part of the historic town centre. From that emerged the draft masterplan with a series of aspirations for the town centre, some about making changes and some of them about acting to preserve some of the things that people love, such as the market.
Aspirations in the draft masterplan 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 during restricted hours
· 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
· Improved links with the Railway Station
· More parking
The Bury St Edmunds Town Trust is a registered charity with the object of conserving the architectural heritage of Bury St Edmunds.
John Popham, represents the Trust, on the town centre masterplan working group.
He said: “This isn’t about change for change sake. The reason that we need a masterplan is to guide and shape the future development of the town centre. The population is growing. More and more people will need to be able to get into the town centre while there are significant improvements needed as it is to make manoeuvring around the town centre easier for people with wheelchairs, pushchairs and other needs.
“We also recognise that the success of town centres in an age of online and supermarket shopping cannot simply rely on the strength of retail if it is to remain an active and interesting place. Thankfully Bury St Edmunds has much to offer, not just in terms of its history but also some exquisite architecture, popular events, and a good blend of leisure and culture activities. The masterplan is about setting the vision for Bury St Edmunds over the next decade and beyond. So take part, have a look at the draft masterplan and have your say.”
Over the past five weeks, the working groups has been inviting people to say what they like and dislike about the draft masterplan by taking part in a questionnaire. Through media, social media and public awareness events we have reached tens of thousands of people, have answered their questions and encouraged them to take part either online or via paper copies of the questionnaire.
The easiest way to take part is from the comfort of your own home. Simply visit www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/bsemasterplan where you can click on the interactive map to see the aspirations for the various parts of the town centre, and then let us know what you like, and don’t like about the draft masterplan via the short questionnaire.
There are also displays and copies of the questionnaire at:
· The Cloisters, St Edmundsbury Cathedral
· The Apex
· West Suffolk House
· Leisure Centre, Beetons Way
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 urban design and town planning specialists David Lock Associates and Peter Brett Associates.