A six week campaign to encourage anybody who uses Bury St Edmunds town centre to help shape its future, has finished.
Over the last six weeks residents, shoppers, town centre workers, businesses and visitors have all been encouraged to look at a draft masterplan for the town centre and then give their feedback via a questionnaire.
Over 1,000 copies of the draft masterplan document have been distributed through information stands and 11 public consultation events at key venues across the town.
Alaric Pugh, Cabinet Member for Planning and Growth at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, one of the partners in the project, said: “I would like to thank everyone who took part, whether they agreed with the vision set out in the draft map or not, for taking the time and effort to look at the document and then have their say via our questionnaire.
“This is the people’s plan in that it is the views of those that took part in the issues and options consultation earlier in the year that shaped the draft masterplan, and it is the feedback of all those that took part in this public engagement and consultation that will shape what happens next.
“We know that for all the things that we love about the town centre to continue to succeed, it will need to adapt. We know that the number of people that want to access and use the town centre is going to increase over the next decade, and we know that that will bring its own opportunities and challenges, particularly around transport, existing pinch points and how people get to the town centre in the first place.
“There are also unknowns around the changing way that we choose to shop and so we need a plan that is flexible and not dependent solely on retail as a way of keeping our town centre vibrant and interesting.
“Everyone wants the town to succeed – which is why the working group behind this project, a group that includes the people representing retailers, market traders, other businesses, as well as conservation groups, felt it was so important to go out and engage with people at events, to make people aware of the draft masterplan and encourage people to take part.
“So a huge thank you to everyone who had their say. We will now look at the responses and the draft masterplan will be revised based on the feedback received. We will also prepare a delivery plan to look at how the various aspirations may be accomplished.
“A great many may be achieved by influencing developers and investors, shaping how growth happens.”
The revised version will be considered by the town centre masterplan working group which includes 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.
A final version of the masterplan will then go before St Edmundsbury Borough councillors to formally adopt before the end of the year.