Town plan could see new thinking on takeaways

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A new plan for Sudbury town centre, including policies on plans for charity shops and takeaways, will be discussed by councillors.

Officers from Babergh District Council are set to be invited to talk to Sudbury Town Council’s planning committee about a neighbourhood plan for the town centre.

Jan Osborne, who raised the possibility of a neighbourhood plan at Monday’s planning committee meeting, said: “We are not seeking to restrict takeaways and charity shops, but we need to make sure the town isn’t overrun by them.

“A neighbourhood plan is an expensive option – they cost about £40,000, although there is around £20,000 in funding available.”

Mrs Osborne said policies could include requirements for additional impact assessments during planning applications for town centre locations.

Speaking during Monday’s meeting, mayor Jack Owen said: “One or two of the restaurant owners are a little bit alarmed as Babergh District Council keeps allowing changes of use of properties, with too many coming in.

“If we continue without a policy we run the risk of becoming a restaurant and cafe town, with a load of charity shops.”

Councillor Oliver Forder said he thought a neighbourhood plan was a good idea but needed a cautious approach.

“We need to be careful about being too restrictive on economic activity in the town centre,” said Mr Forder.

“If there is demand and people are making money out of them you don’t want to restrict it.”

Councillor John Sayers said: “It is better to have a charity shop than empty premises, but landlords need to do more robust marketing of the shops so the charities don’t get in.”

Mr Sayers added: “Charity shops are very popular and people are struggling financially .”

Mr Forder said the role of town centre development manager, which will be recruited in future and paid for with Section 106 money from Sainsbury’s, would be pivotal in directing any neighbourhood plan.

The committee agreed, subject to approval from full council, to ask a Babergh District Council policy officer to discuss the issue with them before presenting any ideas to the full council.