Money may not be taken

NEARLY £500,000 of road and traffic improvements allocated for Sudbury may not be needed, according to town officials.

Suffolk County Council has set aside £460,000 for the town as part of its local transport plan, with the money needing to be spent by 2015.

The county council hopes to use the money to make Market Hill more pedestrian friendly – a move that could affect the free parking currently in place in the town centre.

However, members of a new steering group, set up to “drive forward priorities” in the town, said they would consider not taking the money if the proposals did not fit with a shared vision for Sudbury.

“We will take the money if we need it and it adds value, but not just because it is there,” said Chris Storey, chairman of the town’s Chamber of Commerce, during the group’s first meeting.

Simon Barrett, chairman of the group and a district councillor, said he was wary of losing parking on Market Hill and the reaction this would receive from visitors and residents.

Sue Brotherwood, Sudbury Town Council clerk, said the Market Hill was the “hub of the town”.

“It is a very difficult area as it is so busy,” she said.

Members of the group also discussed the future of the Hamiliton Road quarter – which they said could be used for the development of new shops and a cinema – as well as Belle Vue and the management of the town’s car parks.

Mr Barrett said he was pleased with outcome of the inaugural meeting.

“It was a chance to get an overview of what needs doing,” he said.

“We will be focusing on the key issues and working to get the best for Sudbury.”

Mr Barrett said the next meeting would take place at the end of September and the group would continue working behind the scenes until then.