Council vote against steering group chair

Simon Barrett, Sudbury Steering Group chairman ENGANL00120121128130713

Simon Barrett, Sudbury Steering Group chairman ENGANL00120121128130713

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On Tuesday night Sudbury Town Council members voted in favour of a motion to replace the chair of Sudbury Steering Group, with some councillors claiming the group had failed.

Group chairman Simon Barrett was criticised by Luke Cresswell. Mr Cresswell said the group needed massive reform or to be abolished.

He tabled a motion for Mr Barrett to be replaced, seconded by fellow Labour councillor Jack Owen who said he fully agreed there did need to be a group where the three tiers of local authority could meet.

Put to a vote, six councillors were in favour of the motion, with six against.

Given the deciding vote mayor Sue Ayres said if there was that much concern she would pass the motion, which will now be put to the steering group.

Mr Barrett has already discussed plans for the group to be reviewed and this was reiterated by deputy chair David Holland, who said the group had not failed despite the county council withdrawing its plans for a new bus station to be built in Girling Street.

The steering group had chosen Girling Street as its preferred option from seven plans, but Mr Holland described the process, backlash and subsequent withdrawal as an example of democracy working.

“We get asked to choose from a set of options knowing none of them are perfect,” he said. “The public said they didn’t want two split sites but wanted a number of other things such as bus shelters, toilets and real time displays.

“There was a comparison of what people were asking for and what was available.

“Pretty much everyone was in uniform agreement to steer for the Girling Street option as that seemed the best solution.

“The glorious thing is 6,000 people had a voice and got the proposal thrown out. It is working.”

He said that he and Mr Barrett had been made to stand a public trial over the issue, adding he hoped residents and councillors would come up with constructive ideas to improve the group at its February meeting.