Steering group spat over bus station plans

Sudbury Bus Station
Sudbury
Picture Mark Westley ANL-160908-180429009
Sudbury Bus Station Sudbury Picture Mark Westley ANL-160908-180429009

Following his public criticism of the application to move Sudbury bus station to Girling Street a fortnight ago, Chris Storey has been trading blows with fellow Steering Group member David Holland in an email exchange.

Mr Holland has defended the consultation process, suggesting Mr Storey should have aired his concerns earlier.

In particular Mr Storey has criticised the shared use of the station, the plan for it to be used by delivery lorries, disabled drivers and buses.

He argues this would cause overuse of a new signalling system to allow vehicles out of the station and onto Girling Street, causing traffic congestion.

He also questioned whether the consultation was ‘a sham’, with surveys carried out in advance of both the consultation and pre-consultation.

In an email reply to Mr Storey’s comments, that the Free Press has seen, Mr Holland said: “Mr Storey’s misplaced and uninformed assertion that Suffolk County Council’s (SCC) consultation is a ‘sham’ is not supported by the chronological argument he presents.

“The reports he cites are indeed dated June and July and evidence was as he indicates gathered earlier than that. This has to be the case as the reports are completed after extensive research and the dates indicate that of the final versions of the reports.

“Had any of these reports or public responses to the recent consultation identified a need for significant rethinking of the bus station proposals then that is what would have happened.”

Mr Holland added: “It is simply not true that Mr Storey’s proposals are demonstrably superior to those of SCC and their consultants.

“Had SCC received Mr Storey’s revised proposals through the recent consultation [pre-consultation in October], they might reasonably have considered whether, having designed a bus station that avoided buses reversing on safety grounds, to adopt his suggestion of a dedicated coach stop which necessitated reversing.

“Mr Storey’s assertion that his proposal would ‘get it right for Sudbury’ is, on this and other points, questionable.

“There is a salutary lesson to be learned from Mr Storey’s actions. Failing to enter possibly valuable proposals into a planning process in a timely and appropriate manner will simply result in failure to have any impact on that process.”

Mr Storey told the Free Press that this statement was questionable as the full application consultation was still open, saying therefore this was the correct time to raise concerns.

He added that he still supported the need for the station to be moved to Girling Street, but said he had previously expressed concerns on the shared use of the station at steering group meetings.

He said: “As David Holland rightly says I am just one individual but I have had the opportunity to consider the bus station proposals over a prolonged timescale and have raised these concerns through the steering group and other forums.

“Whilst these are my personal comments I continue to be a representative of the Chamber of Commerce in various forums and regularly seek to promote Sudbury as a great place for business. I can assure you I want the best for Sudbury and it is solely on this basis that I make my position clear.

“I continue to research this matter and will try to secure the best outcome for Sudbury and businesses in Sudbury.”