Town must remain vibrant in new year

LOOKING AHEAD: Sudbury mayor Adrian Osborne (centre), with John McMillan (left) and Simon Barrett (right) outside Sudbury Town Hall.
LOOKING AHEAD: Sudbury mayor Adrian Osborne (centre), with John McMillan (left) and Simon Barrett (right) outside Sudbury Town Hall.

The progression of a host of major projects in Sudbury must be made over the next 12 months if the town is to continue to prosper.

Significant steps to move forward the redevelopment of the bus station, shore up the future of Chilton Woods and solve some of the area’s traffic and parking problems should all be seen, according to a number of leading town figures.

Simon Barrett, a town and district councillor, said he believed Sudbury had “bucked the trend” in 2013 and had much to be hopeful about.

“We want to keep free stort-stay car parking in Sudbury and we have been able to do that, because it is an investment in the town,” he said.

“As a market town, Sudbury is doing very well and the reason that we have traffic problems is due to its popularity. We have a good mix of independent and national retailers and probably have a catchment area of 90,000 people.”

Mr Barrett said Premier Inn was still in discussions with the district council about buying land to the front of Belle Vue House, and he was expecting progress on the Hamilton Road development.

“We have two or three developers interested and Babergh is talking with landowners,” he said.

“The council has shown a real commitment to the project with the purchase of Navigation House and we do have cinema chains interested.

“It is good news for Sudbury and shows we are still on people’s shopping lists, because we get good footfall and vibrancy, but the bus station is not going to happen overnight.”

John McMillan, president of Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, said he could look back on last year with satisfaction knowing short-stay parking charges had once again been fought off and there were signs of economic improvement.

“Shops are holding their own very well and we have had a quiet spell with closures, but I would like to see factories ramping up to full production,” he said.

“We will also continue to lobby central government to get a review of business rates, as they are unsuitable at the moment.”

Colin Spence, county councillor for Sudbury, said the big issues were transport and the plan for 1,050 homes at Chilton Woods.

“There are lots of demands on what we want to see happen at Chilton Woods and we want to ensure it is a good quality development with a green agenda,” said Mr Spence.

“We have to get that moving again in a time of very serious financial difficulties.”

Sudbury mayor Adrian Osborne said he was keen to see the outcome of the town’s parking consultation combat clogged-up residential streets, with the introduction of parking permits among the possibilities.

“I am mindful of the disruption in the town’s streets and want it resolved,” he said.

Mr Osborne said he felt the appointment of Jane Hatton as town centre development manager would help increase footfall and prayed for fine weather to allow the completion of the new health centre on time.

“I do not want weather to affect the schedule and hope for clear days in January and February,” he added.