Businesses to have their say on the future of Sudbury’s Market Hill

Businesses in the heart of Sudbury will now have their say on future proposals to regenerate the town centre – as the next stage of design and engagement for Market Hill gets underway.

Babergh District Council, working with Suffolk County Council, has commissioned consultants WSP to progress the next phase of the Sudbury Vision town centre programme.

This next round of engagement will seek the views of stakeholders including businesses, taxi firms and disability access groups on plans for the future remodelling of Market Hill, while local residents will be invited to share their views in the autumn.

Back in January, Sudbury Vision group partners including Suffolk County Council, Babergh District Council, Sudbury Town Council, St Peter’s and Gainsborough’s House, took part in the “What Next for Sudbury?” public exhibition – giving over 800 people who attended the opportunity to see and comment on a range of projects in progress, planned or in the pipeline for the town.

These included proposals to relocate the Hamilton Road bus station to an on-street facility and redesign Market Hill as a vibrant public place – boosting visitor numbers to Sudbury as a connected, sustainable, cleaner and greener town.

Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for economic growth and Chair of the Sudbury Steering Group, Michael Holt said: “Although the current changes to Market Hill that have been put in place by Sudbury Town Council have been driven by Covid-19 and social distancing measures to keep shoppers safe, they have, perhaps, given us a chance to see what sort of affect any future remodelling may have on the area.

“While we have been working closely with Sudbury Town Council to monitor and support the town’s recovery, now is the time to build upon the first round of engagement in January to collate feedback and views of local businesses on our longer term plans for a thriving and sustainable town centre, with Market Hill at its heart.”

The next stage will involve progressing more detailed concept design options for Market Hill, with further public engagement for residents planned this autumn.  A final scheme proposal is expected to be ready by the end of the year to allow Sudbury Vision partners to seek next stage funding for detailed design and delivery.

Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Highways, Transport and Rural Affairs said: “Any opportunity to listen to the views of local businesses is very important if town regeneration plans, or related highways improvements, are to be ultimately successful.  The feedback from this upcoming round of consultation, alongside the wider public consultation from residents later this year, is an important milestone. I hope that as many people as possible use this opportunity to help make Market Hill and Sudbury regeneration a success.”

Alongside the town centre recovery work, other elements of the regeneration programme have progressed and evolved to meet the challenges of supporting a safe, sustainable and well-used town centre.

Since January, additional developments have been incorporated into the vision for Sudbury, including:

  • St.Peter’s Church regeneration Heritage Lottery Fund Stage 2 bid submission (June 2020);
  • Ongoing development at Gainsborough’s House;
  • The £2.4m Kingfisher Leisure Centre extension and refurbishment (August 2020);
  • A pilot scheme for solar car ports following a successful application for Government funding from the Getting Building Fund (August 2020).

Sudbury Town Centre manager Rachel Price said: “There are a multitude of factors affecting local businesses at this time, despite the incredibly difficult circumstances, businesses have been working hard to stay connected with loyal customers (and attract new ones) and in turn there has been a renewed commitment to support local.

“The market has continued to be a central focus attracting both local loyal shoppers and visitors from further afield – we are after all an ancient market town and this provision is central to our town’s character. It is vital that we continue to keep Sudbury vibrant, by promoting our unique heritage, independent business and beautiful green spaces, offering a range of tools to enable visitors to explore Sudbury as well as hosting activities to attract more people to Market Hill and the surrounding area.”

Businesses and other stakeholders can submit their feedback online until Friday, September 11, at 5pm www.babergh.gov.uk/markethillsurvey

The next Sudbury Vision Steering Board meeting will be held virtually on Monday, September 28.

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