Plans to relocate Sudbury’s bus station to Girling Street have been postponed due to the overwhelming level of opposition so far shown.
Less than a day after a public consultation into the planning application closed, Suffolk County Council (SCC) withdrew its planning application which was due to be considered by its Development Control Committee in January.
Campaign group Save our Bus Station (SOBS) was set up to oppose the move to the car park site, citing concerns over safety, congestion and parking issues, with the move meaning the loss of 72 car parking spaces.
More than 6,000 people signed a petition against the application, while Sudbury Town Council recently recommended it should be refused.
Babergh District Council had hoped the move would be given the go ahead by the county council to relocate the station away from Hamilton Road to allow for the regeneration of the area.
After the decision to withdraw was made James Finch, SCC’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “In view of the feedback about the proposal to move the bus station from its present location in Hamilton Road to a new site at the car park in Girling Street, it has been decided to withdraw the current planning application.”
“The bus station proposals will now be considered afresh in the light of these consultation responses. The way forward will be discussed with Sudbury Town Council and with Babergh District Council, owner of current and proposed bus station sites and a decision made about how to proceed in due course.
“There will also be further consultation when another application is put forward.”
SOBS chair, Teresa Bishop, said she was “cock-a-hoop” to hear the decision.
“We’re naturally delighted that the county council has decided to revoke the current plans and look again at the proposal. It not only shows that the original plan was flawed, but also that people power, focused in the right way, can force local government to listen to the public’s concerns, which is the bedrock of local democracy.
“We think the whole thing needs a real re-think. There should be more consultation on what the town wants and what the town needs.
“This does not mean that they will not try again with modified plans. But we have said from the start that SOBS is not against redevelopment in the town, but it must reflect the views of the majority and respond to local needs. The current planning application did neither.”
“We are more than happy to work with Babergh to discuss what should happen to the whole Hamilton Road site now that the current Girling Street plan has been thrown out.”
Mrs Bishop thanked those that had supported the SOBS campaign, asking them to ‘remain true to the cause’ when another application emerged.
She added: “We just hope that this time full disclosure is made by the council about its plans for Hamilton Road and that a full and transparent public consultation is organised to elicit local views.”
Following the county council’s decision a Babergh spokesman said: “We completely understand the decision that Suffolk County Council have taken over the planning application following the feedback they have received and we look forward to talks with them in the new year over any potential relocation of the Sudbury bus station.
“However, we remain fully committed to the regeneration of the Hamilton Road Quarter of Sudbury and are keen to continue working with our partners and key stakeholders to ensure we deliver a scheme for this area which will help to support economic growth for the town.”